Are you losing your customers before you’ve really won them?
Recently, I was working with a company to hire a VA for Customer Frame. What a palaver!
KNOW WHY YOUR CUSTOMER NEEDS YOU
By the very nature of needing a VA, one would assume that I, the customer, would be busy + therefore relatively time-poor. I’d probably be quite stressed, likely overtired + exhausted, not to mention overwhelmed with too much on my plate.
One could assume I would need a solution ASAP, that I’d need help + guidance to find the right solution + most likely, assurance throughout that process that not only had I made the right decision to hire a VA, but that I’d hired the right company to do so. [Remember, this can be a huge step for a business – hiring staff is a big deal!]
Pretty safe assumptions, wouldn’t you say?
THEY COMPLETELY MISSED THE MARK
Now, I don’t run a VA outsourcing business, so I don’t attest to be an expert in the ins + outs of it all.
But I do know customers + I do know business. + I know that the better you can match your offering to your customer’s needs, the more successful your business will be.
This company was completely off the mark + had missed this basic business fundamental – if you’re going to make a promise or set an expectation, make sure you are delivering it.
PAINFUL IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT
The process with this company from the outset was painful. Excruciatingly so.
Not only did they give me little to no information about the process we would undertake together, they made me chase them every step of the way. + I mean, every step.
No expectations were set about the process, so as the customer, I made up my own expectations – which they failed to meet, almost every step of the way. Painful is an understatement!
Not only did I feel invisible throughout the entire process (a faceless number), I was spending my precious time chasing them, worrying about what was happening, whilst losing precious work-hours on my busy business!
Why? Why was I chasing? Because I had a need. + I’d gone so far down the path of using this business, that I couldn’t bring myself to ‘get off’ the merry-go-round of hell that I found myself on.
WHEN THE PROMISE FALLS SHORT IN DELIVERY
I also liked the proposition of the service this company claimed to provide.
Their promise was different to others I’d researched + spoke directly to my needs as a business owner – let us find you the perfect VA so you can get on with running your growing business.
We’ll train your ‘hand-picked, tailored precisely to your business needs’ VA in delivering the best to your business + we’ll train you, the business owner, in getting the most from your VA.
Wonderful! Perfect! Pick me!
THEN THEY TOOK MY MONEY!
I was forgiving in the early days – I truly wanted it to work + quite frankly, by then had invested countless hours in making it so.
But as we progressed + they took my money + still had not answered my questions + had not had an agreement signed by me, I started to wonder whether this really was the right company for me.
Is this really the right company for me? If their service is this bad now, what will it be like later?!
Will they continue to take ages to respond to me every time I have a question? Will they continue to ignore my requests for help? Will they be efficient in helping me to train + manage my VA? If their standards of service are this low, what are their standards in their choice of VA for my business?
I considered not signing the agreement + demanding my money back, but again, I was too far down the line. My confidence levels were low, yet I still continued because of this simple fact.
“Their process (or lack of!) had taken something from me I could never get back – my precious time.”
BACK TO MY CUSTOMER NEED – A VA !
The funny point to this story…
The whole point of a VA is that they take the stress + the worry away from me, that they take work off my hands to free me up for more strategic priorities, that they help me grow my business by doing the little things that I, as a business owner, simply shouldn’t be doing.
The whole point of a VA outsourcing company is to do the same…
+ yet, here I am having to chase every day, sometimes two + three times a day for this company to respond to my requests + my questions. Here I am asking for answers + tracking timelines + chasing deadlines + following up…
Here I am going through one of the most stressful, time-consuming, soul-destroying processes of my entire career as a business owner…
… for something that was meant to make my life better, easier, less stressful, more balanced, more pleasant…
It just didn’t make any sense.
THEY FAILED ME, SPECTACULARLY SO…
The reality is this, dear VA outsourcing company…
Despite your big propositions + promises, no – you are not making my life easier. No – you are not allaying my fears or taking my stress away + no – you are not giving me the confidence that you have my back + that you will make sure I get the right VA for my company.
“In fact, your process has given me the exact opposite to what you claim to give me when I engage with you. The polar opposite.”
THE LEARNINGS FOR BUSINESS
Friends, my advice is this…
Be wary of the experience you give your customers at the outset + throughout the relationship. Take note of what you promise + make sure you deliver it.
As customers, we’re always looking for the best option for us + many of us have a second or third or fourth option that stands right behind your business, ready to take my business off your hands.
Be careful not to pour all your money into marketing + sales, + forget about the back-end – the actual delivery of the promises you made.
So many businesses do all this work to get my attention as a customer. They work hard to sign me up + then when it comes to delivery… they disappear. With the myriad of choices customers have these days, it’s a dangerous line to tread. They’ll simply walk out the door.
Remember this – just because your systems + processes work for YOU, are efficient for you, make money for you – it doesn’t mean that they work for your customer. Stand in your customer’s shoes + see for yourself – you may in fact be delivering the exact opposite to what your customer needs.
You may have won them through your marketing proposition, but you may indeed lose them through your processes + customer service, before you’ve even really started.
+ what a terrible shame that would be.