Maintain an Open Dialogue Between Your Fire Protection Business and Your Customers
We all understand that marketing is an important part of your fire protection business, as is targeting the right audience. Many would assume that to keep your customers you just need to be able to continuously supply the product or service that they want. While this is an important trait for a successful business, you also need to be able to keep an Open Dialogue with your customers.
What is Open Dialogue Anyway?
Engaging with your customers is the key to starting and maintaining an open dialogue. (Nowadays this can even be done through social media!)
Open dialogue is an innovative way of making sure your relationship with your customer stays positive and strong. It’s the ability to listen and adapt, to the particular context and language of every exchange. Something we always strive to do at Inspect Point.
The more successful you are with communicating positively and openly, the better it serves your business. Remember, a customer is also a marketer and advertiser for your company. You want for them to be able to tell friends, family, and others, that this is the place to go.
Building a relationship with your target audience is a great way to do this. At Inspect Point we created a little “Get to know us” for new customers, along with a blog focused around introducing our Customer Success team. This is an example of a personal touch that shows who we are and that we are here to help you with any and all needs you could possibly have. This simple example sets the tone for open dialogue with us and shows that our team is far more personable, far more… human. That is key.
Remember all those times you were trying to get in touch with your cable or service provider? What about when you were trying to get help for anything that included required you to dial a hotline number? Did those automated voice messages saying, “Thank you for calling, how may I help you today?”, make you grit your teeth? The more human you are, the more engagement you will receive from a potential customer. Later on, this will create customer loyalty.
How do You have an Open Dialogue?
In order to maintain an open dialogue, you much first practice it. Practice, and practice even more, until you have the skill set in place and you have created a habit. After all, practice makes perfect. So, how do you do this on a consistent basis?
Start with transformative dialogue. This is attention to the moment at hand without a preconceived hypothesis or any specific agenda in mind. Going into a conversation with a preconceived idea of the problem and possible solution is a disservice to both your business and, more importantly, your customer.
So if now you’re wondering how might you go about having an open dialogue, well, here’re a couple tips to get you started:
- You want to have thoughtful communication: think about how you approach someone when they have a problem. How do you go about starting off the conversation?
- Maintain a consistent tone: You want to use positive language
- Instead of saying “Anything else?” try using “What else can I help you with?”
- Try “Unfortunately, at this time, we are unable to offer that action. How about we….” avoid using, “ No, we don’t”.
It’s not important about what you can’t do. Your customer is more interested in what you CAN do. Focus on what you can achieve for them, rather than things that are out of your control.
- Be brief, but not blunt: Trying to help your customer to the best of your ability is commendable, though not always easy. A wordy instruction list on a “How-to” is going to discourage a client. Instead try using different media platforms such as video, images, and hyperlinks. A picture is worth a thousand words!
- Reply in a timely manner: The longer the wait, the less reliable you seem.
- Talk the talk: Know your customer basis. If your target audience is the everyday man; writing out a letter as if you were speaking to a professor with a Ph.D. will cause your audience to tune you out.
- Show don’t tell: Instead of writing out each step-by-step instruction of a “how-to problem” try creating a small video tutorial instead that shows each step. It saves you time, saves you unnecessary over explained words, and is a great tool that a customer can use over and over on their own time.
- Always be personable: Don’t sound like a machine. The more human the better.
- Always end on a high note: “I’d be happy to help with any further questions or concerns you may have.” Always be willing to help.
At Inspect Point we have used these tools in the past and we continue to do so. We utilize open dialogue with all of our current, and potential clients, and even among our internal team. Think of us as an open dialogue team. We use these techniques when helping our customers leap over technology hurdles while working on their own businesses.
How Can You Apply Open Dialogue Going Forward?
Inspect Points provides a Customer Portal to all users. Specifically, this is a secure channel that enables Inspect Point customers to share account-specific reports, proposals, and invoices with our customers. With our customer portal, you have the direct ability to communicate and share important information, with all of your clients, with the push of a button.
Have a Conversation of Your Own
Now that you have the tips and tools to help, you have a great conversation starter, too. Now, go and try it out the next time you need to help a customer.
Hopefully, these tips and tools will help you create a stronger and more reliable customer service base with your clientele. These are the people who not only make your business stronger but who end up being your advertisers as well, remember? That’s why customer satisfaction is the biggest selling point you have.
And that, folks, is something we value here at Inspect Point.