I read an article on LinkedIn the other day and had to laugh when I was reading it. A company down in Devon have put an article up as to why they don’t offer instant telephone support and the reasons why – it may seem a bit bizarre to some people that they take this approach, however, I’ve taken this approach for quite a while now.
One thing I do want to make clear is I do actually take calls from clients but I’d much rather do this by appointment so that I can schedule the call in and around the work that I’m doing, rather than running to the phone every-time someone asks for me.
Just so people know, the picture is not one of my staff in certain instances. I think some people assume this is they way some Digital Marketing offices work. We do have to work hard to make things work and are not lying about waiting on calls and interruptions to the workflow.
Some people are not happy with this approach and think that I’m not providing the best service for not answering their calls at times but they never take a step back to think of the reasons why, so I’m going to list the reasons why I’m not always available to just pop on the phone all day every day. ( If you do want me, emails always get a quick response or you can call and arrange a convenient time for me to call you back.)
#1 Better Response By Email
Email support always works best in this industry and it’s why most people will send any questions or requests by email. It allows us the opportunity to have something in black and white and arrange for this to be dealt with at the earliest opportunity, whether it is a question or something that needs fixed or changed on a website. It also allows me to be able to forward that query to the most relevant person in the office, believe it or not there is a team there who help with the day to day activities, I can’t possibly do all of the work myself.
Email support also allows me to answer at a time that is convenient for me, so in these cases you will get a much more structured answer because it gives me the opportunity to do this in my own time.
#2 No More Cold Calls For Me
I’m sure most of you will agree that probably 80% of the calls that come into any office are people trying to sell to you, not someone willing to pay for our services. Below are some of the calls that I’m sure we all face on a daily basis.
- Do we want to outsource our web design and SEO work? The answer is no. We are trying to win business, not hand it out to another company; we don’t outsource work so stop calling.
- Do we want to promote our business by advertising in a fake charity magazine that goes out to thousands of people in Blackpool or some other obscure location. As much as I do my share of charity work I’ve no interest in this type of advertising.
- Do I want to discuss how I can save money on my energy bills? After the 10th call this week the answer is still no, I can only change provider so many times.
- You have a virus on your computer, give me remote access and ill fix it? Really? How would they know that, and why would they want to fix it? Go away and stop trying to access my stuff.
- Can we speak to the house owner? This isn’t a house it’s a business who you have called every week since we started and still try and sell whatever it is your trying to sell.
You can grasp the situation here. If I was to go to the phone every time someone asked for me, I would get absolutely no work finished. I’d need to hire someone to do my job and the client price would need to double. (that is not the solution)
With there being so many mediums to talk on, Skype, email, telephone, text message and face to face it’s impossible to service all of those areas whilst still being able to have time to do my work. I’m the same as anyone else, constant disruptions will put anyone off doing their job.
#3 Better Productivity
As a direct result of spending less time on the phone, I’m able to do efficient marketing and spend the majority of my time offering the clients value for money for the services they use me for. In this industry, there is so much talk and not enough work being done. I’d much rather get stuck in and be more productive as the client will see better results.
#4 The client can make a decision on whether I’m a good fit
In my years of running my own marketing company I’ve learned a lot, made loads of mistakes and one of those being working with the wrong type of client. My approach will suit some clients and not others, everyone wants different types of communication.
Setting expectations from the outset is really important, including the reporting and communication side of things. Some people like an email with a report that is 16 pages long (typically one full of fluff). I’d much rather put together the simple report that takes 1 hour and shows the ranks, traffic and anything that is important and I avoid typing up pages of nonsense and spend more time being productive.
I’m also happy to arrange a 10-minute conversation to talk things over the phone as some clients prefer to do that.
It is impossible to talk on the phone for every little question as I’m not available all day every day. I am always happy to answer little questions but email is fine for that type of thing. Some people won’t like that and can choose not to use me as a result. – That is the type of client i’d like to try and avoid, as not all clients are a good fit.
#5 Better Record of Communication
In the office I’ve been in the situation where a call has come in and the client asks for a minor website change, the second I get off the phone and go to make that change, the phone goes again and someone else will talk about something completely different.
I end up forgetting what client 1 asked on the phone until they call me and ask what happened to their change. Email, on the other hand, can be read, opened at a time where I’m not distracted and I would have clear instruction on what to do or action.
It’s also easier to share your email with other team members if required, rather than more needless time being wasted on relaying a phone message to the correct person, as that is yet more admin time.
Many clients will claim that agencies or marketing people they choose to use don’t offer an efficient service or don’t offer value for money and I’m sure there are many reasons why that may be the case. One of those is down to bad management of time and that can be caused by internal problems within a marketing agency but in a lot of cases, the problem is down to “no value” time being spent on everything other than doing marketing.
Although talking on the phone is still an important part of communication in a lot of cases and we will talk to anyone on the phone, there are instances where other forms of communication are more effective. For example discussing a new client website is much easier face to face as you can see and understand what the client is suggesting, where things over email or the phone can be misinterpreted.
Minor questions and communication is much more effective being done by email.