I consider myself to be of the sandwich generation. I am young enough to remember rotary phones, and the yellow pages. A time before the internet when if you needed something you had to look it up in a book, an encyclopedia. Mail came in the form of letters, and video games used quarters at an arcade. Just the same I am of the generation of social media, text messaging and the internet. You want to communicate with someone you send a text or instant message. A generation of instant answers, of wanting things now. I suffer from this as well. I don’t want to want to wait and I sure don’t want to search too hard for what I want.
As business professionals we need to keep up with this next generation regardless of what we want. We need to stay easily accessible to those who need us. I often here that if a client values you, they will wait. I disagree, I believe this may have been true ten years ago, but today with Amazon and a 24-hour internet, we have become accustom to receiving what we want immediately.
I was in the airport not too long ago and overheard a conversation. The gentleman was returning a call (a day later) to a potential client. The client had moved on to the next contractor, he no longer needed this man’s services. The gentleman called his office and really let them have it about not forwarding messages to him quickly and following up. He went on to let them know how they had just lost the potential for a large sum of money.
What can you do?
- Make sure your phone number is easily found. On your website, don’t bury it in the 8th page. Put it front and center. At the end of your email, put your website, email address and phone number. On your social media profiles, can I contact you directly?
- Many of us have contact us pages on our website. You can set up an automatic reply to the sender. In this reply, let them know what the next steps are. Don’t make them guess.
- On your voicemail, if possible give them another person to contact if you are unavailable. If there is no one, let them know when you will be returning calls. If your website has a Questions and Answers page, direct them to it.
- When you leave a message for someone on their voicemail, be sure and repeat your number twice. Never assume someone already has it. If you have text messaging capabilities, let them know this. Remember instant results are the norm now.
- In your newsletter, make sure your message is clear on what you want the reader to do. Don’t make them work for it. Encourage your current email subscribers to share and forward your emails by including social sharing buttons and an “Email to a Friend” button in your marketing emails.
No matter which generation you are from, to be a successful business you must adapt to what your clients want. Communicate in a way that they can understand and take action. “Developing excellent communication is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leadership must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter,” a quote by Gilbert Amelio says it all. Be clear on your message and have it easy to find.