In the furor of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign we saw a master political move. I’m not endorsing any candidate in this post, but want to point out a couple of their tactics. 1
Donald Trump got a lot of flack for publicly sharing Senator Lindsey Graham’s phone number during a press conference. Many in the press were amused by Graham’s quick response, which was a video of Graham destroying a phone in many different ways. It was a clever video, but the wrong move because it sent the wrong message.
After that video, Trump made the right move. He released his own phone number and told people they could call him any time. For a brief time Trump even answered the phone and talked to people, but mostly people got a recorded message where Trump thanked them for calling and talked about his campaign to make American great again.
So what’s the difference between these two tactics? Graham’s message says, “Don’t call me. I don’t want my number to be public. Talk to my press office. I’m very important”. Trump’s response, on the other hand says, “Hey, yeah, call me anytime. I’m here for you. I’d love to hear what you have to say and tell you my thoughts.” Graham was closing down communication channels and Trump was opening them.
Don’t be like Lindsey
Many companies make the same mistake Sen. Graham made. They purposely put up barriers between themselves and their prospects and clients. They miss the opportunity to connect.
Some companies go one step further. After sorting through the maze of phone options to finally get to a real person, I’ve often asked,Why do you guys make it so difficult for me to give you my money? Click To Tweet
I’ve never received a decent response and what is even more troubling is no one has ever asked me to explain why I feel it’s difficult, so they can improve and get more of my money.
You see, companies get so caught up in their procedures, processes and efficiencies that they miss the opportunities to make real connections with customers. They make elaborate websites in hopes of selling something – sites with lots of text and stock photography in hopes of convincing us, but then they make us jump through hoops to make a purchase, e.g. enter all your personal information, get on our mailing list, go through a 5 page process to sign up, etc.
They don’t put their phone number at the top of the website or a chat to make it easy to talk to a human. Their processes are designed to minimize contact.
Most people would agree that they’d love to do business with a company that answers the phone, responds to email or chat. One that opens a dialogue. After all, people do business with those they like and trust and no one will ever like or trust you if you make their life difficult.
How can you better open a dialogue with customers? Call, email me or reach out on social media. I’d love to hear your thoughts.