When was the last time you left home without your phone? The Pew Research Centre reports cellphone ownership at about 95%. This presents a huge opportunity for businesses to reach customers on their mobile phones through calls, text and mobile adaptation of services and marketing.
Reaching customers through phone calls lacks the scalability of other means of reaching customers such as email and social media – as you can only speak to so many people at once. Therefore, this means of reaching customers may be more appropriate for Business to Business (B2B) organizations and corporate sales executives. Attempting to reach customers by phone is also costlier than the use of emails and online platforms. We will look at the other opportunities for reaching customers by phone beyond calling.
Successfully reaching customers by phone goes beyond merely making cold/warm calls and incorporates text messaging and leveraging of mobile compatibility and technology to get brand communications and marketing in front of customers.
Considerations When Reaching Customers by Phone
Getting Phone numbers
Generating appropriate phone numbers is the first step in attempting to reach customers by phone. Company websites, social media platforms, and directories are a good source of contact information. Phone numbers are an essential data to collect with your customer forms and other data collection campaigns. Generate phone numbers organically to ensure you create a database of contacts more likely to be interested in your product or service.
Needless to say that 6 am in the morning is an inappropriate time to call a potential client about your product or service. There are various studies that offer suggestions as to the most appropriate times to call prospects, however, use your judgment and knowledge of your target market to determine the best time to call. Also, clarify that you have caught the prospect at a good time before delving into your pitch.
Legal compliance is essential when developing any campaign for your business. Visit the website or office of your telecommunications regulator to ensure that your strategy does not break any laws as fines and lawsuits are an expensive distraction for businesses.
Strategies to Reach Customers by Phone
Telephones and mobile devices are a great way to contact the potential customer directly. Here are various strategies businesses can utilize to reach their target markets by phone:
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Calling Customers – Cold/Warm
Outbound calls, cold calling and calling past customers are age-old techniques utilized by businesses to reach customers. Optimize your chances of achieving your objectives when calling customers by:
- Using a script to outline your conversation and plan the interaction. Leave nothing to chance. Visualize the flow of the conversation and prepare for any possible objections or reactions from the customer/prospect.
- Make calls personal by incorporating some knowledge of the customer such as congratulating the customer about a favorable review about their organization you read recently. Doing this requires that you stay abreast of updates in your industry and research the prospect ahead of the call.
- Get to the point quickly. Don’t beat around the bush or drag out the pleasantries. Assume your prospect is a busy person and let them know exactly why you are calling. Follow your objective/reason for calling with your desire – what would you like the prospect to do because of your call or after your call – ask for the sale, referral, meeting etc.
- Remain professional and results focused throughout the interaction. Prospects and customers may be overly chatty, witty or unpleasant. No matter the reception you get from the client, stay on task with your delivery guided by your script.
Within the confines of your local telecoms regulations, text messaging is a great way to reach customers with your marketing and brand communications. Text messages can also be used to create pleasant brand associations and deepen relationships with customers. There are various customer relationship management software that allow you to send bulk SMS to a database at very low costs.
Use text messages to send out useful information on your products and promotions. Text messages can also be used to add value by sending out information potential customers may find useful. Campaigns such as quizzes and competitions can also be utilized to engage customers by asking customers to text to designated shortcodes.
When using text messages to reach customers, keep the communication short and precise and use links to redirect customers to your complete message or additional information.
Mobile Compatible Web Pages & Emails
It is no longer enough to just have a business page or website. Businesses focused on sustainability must adapt to changing technologies. With the wider adoption of mobile phones and over 70% of phone users accessing the internet and their email from their mobile phones, businesses must ensure that their websites, emails, and promotions are mobile friendly.
Search engines, such as Google and Bing, strive to present the most appropriate results to users based on the relevance of content and the device they are assessing the search engines from. Therefore, having content and web pages that are not mobile compatible could be limiting your business from reaching potential customers.
Take advantage of technology and the advances in mobile accessibility to reach customers on their mobile phones when they are in your area.
Gail Goodman suggests “If you run a brick-and-mortar business or host an event, encourage people to check in on location-based services like Foursquare, Gowalla, or Where. You will gain information about your regular customers and how often they visit you. It also lets your customers share information and tips about your business with others. A unique special offer can encourage these regulars to check in more often”.
Your presence and visibility on platforms that customers access from their phone will position you to reach such customers successfully.
The effort to reach customers successfully requires creativity and innovation as customers are increasingly averse to receiving branded content/marketing. It is time to shift focus from traditional ways of utilizing the telephone to reach customers and explore advancements in mobile technology. Research findings on modern consumer behaviors and mobile phone usage can be adapted and incorporated in your customer engagement strategy to help you reach customers effectively by phone.
Deciding the right phrase to handle different situations can be very tasking. As a correspondent, you are directly involved in critical day-to-day interactions via email. This makes your ability to craft good email messages, using the perfect phrases and clauses, tangential to your business success.
There is a book by Meryl Runion that will help you to a great extent:
Perfect Phrases for Office Professionals: Hundreds of ready-to-use phrases for getting respect, recognition, and results in today’s workplace
Overall, this book will greatly improve your communication skills. It will also help you easily clarify assignments with your manager or projects with your clients as well as guide you in handling the inevitable complaints that sometimes follow sales of products or services.