You may not be aware, but the CIC is standardizing its email services for all Chapters using a company called Constant Contact (www.constantcontact.com). This newsletter was prepared using this new service. Why I mention this is that when I was testing out the service and set up a trial account, I received great customer service.
And all they did was phone me…not email, phone. Are you thinking ‘so what?’…Well here is so what:
First, the call told me that they have an organization that is large enough to call a small account in a small city in a small province, and that they thought that I was worth the call.
Second, they were letting me know that when I signed up and gave my contact info that a real, live human being noticed it and did something about it (in fact, within 25 minutes of my setting up the account).
Third, they listened to what I planned to do to test it out, spoke to me like what I had to do was important, let me know that I can always call if I need help. Then they told me that they will be following up to see if they can do anything better, and offered me a $50 template-design service, for free.
Why is that all so awesome?
- Because I am telling you about it, and have told others.
- Because the other email service that I have used for the past four years has never once called me. Not once.
- Because I am part of other organizations that need email services.
- Because I felt instantly connected to this company through this genuinely friendly voice. I thought ‘now here is a company that has its stuff together’.
- And while this service is slightly more expensive, I felt right away that it will be worth it.
I then started to think how could I lever this experience to work with my own job? I am an accountant and work in the accounting department. I am not typically a front-line service provider to our customers.
Are you thinking ‘so what?’ yet?
Maybe the credit staff could call their AP staff and introduce themselves and thank them for their business and let them know that if they have any questions about our invoicing or product that we will always be a phone call away.
That strategy worked very well for Constant Contact because they are an email service provider that helps companies market themselves to their own customers – so they should be good at this sort of thing.
How much more powerful would it be if we finance types surprised our counterparts with a friendly welcome-to-our-company call? Perhaps establishing a good relationship with their AP department might only spread a bit of warm-fuzzy. But one day when money is tight for a customer, their AP department might just fondly remember us in their cheque-runs!
A friendly call to a customer might just be an action that takes us financial types right out of our comfort zone…it is definitely a stretch goal, but credit professionals live on the phone. How hard can it be?