When Customers Ghost You

 

  • An important customer leaves you and you find out they've switched suppliers.
  • Your sales rep has meetings with a new prospect and then the trail goes cold.
  • A prospect books a product demo by Zoom but they failed to log in and you never heard from them again.
  • You finish phase one of a project, and then you never hear from the client again.

This has become known as ghosting.

With greater frequency, front-line employees who are not engaged and empathetic, perhaps overworked, are turning people off, mismanaging expectations, communicating poorly, and undermining client confidence and trust.

This is causing customers to ghost you. And you don't even know it's happening.

Imagine the impact on your revenue, customer retention and customer referrals.

Customer-facing front-line people can make or break a sale or a project.

They come in many forms: customer support, project management, customer success managers, technical sales, engineers, shipping, business development, sales, support, delivery and operations.

Consider this actual event: After speaking at a conference in person in beautiful Prince Edward Island last week, I decided to stay another night and enjoy the gorgeous fall colours. I called a toll-free number from a hotel website in Charlottetown and got my credit card ready. A rushed call centre operator brushed over my questions and asked for my credit card information. Her impatient demeanour was at odds with the website's friendly photos. In fact, I felt very uncomfortable giving my credit card number to her, so I said I would think about it. I ended the call without booking a room at that property and called my 2nd choice. I guess you could say I ghosted her.

If the first hotel had provided the right training to their call centre, and if the operator slowed down long enough to listen to my questions (how hard is it to say if breakfast is included?), they would have had an easy sale. I was looking to buy and had the credit card in my hand! It was 4pm and I had a dinner reservation at 7pm.

As the saying goes, how you behave speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you're saying.

If you've been in one of my presentations or workshops or read my book, The Power of Trust: How Top Companies Build, Manage and Protect It, you've heard me say:

"At the end of the day, the customer may not remember what we said, however, they're always going to remember how we make them feel and how they were treated."

When your front-line employees follow a step-by-step approach to building trust, they can deal with any customer situation.

When you learn the method and follow the guidelines to build, strengthen and protect a relationship of trust, you can do so again and again. And then you have a valuable formula for sales success.

Here are 10 questions to assess whether your customer-facing people are building or undermining trust and confidence with customers:

  1. Do they respect customers' intelligence or are they patronizing customers as though they don't know anything?
  2. Do they argue with customers or do they strive to understand their concerns?
  3. Are they communicating with an open mind and a genuine interest in learning about the customer's situation and concerns?
  4. Do they listen in a way that encourages customers to speak freely?
  5. Do they make assumptions that are ill-founded or do they seek to holistically understand?
  6. Do they display compassion and empathy toward the customer?
  7. Do they ask customers for feedback?
  8. Do they make an effort to include customers in discussions that affect them?
  9. Do they send messages that may be deemed unhelpful? Some examples are: directing customers to read the instructions, go to the website, call the 1-800 line or another department.
  10. Do they respond to client questions and concerns or do they sit in silence and thereby send the message inadvertently that they ignoring the client?

If you would like to learn more about this science-based system and how your front-line people can learn this step-by-step trust-building method to increase client confidence, grow sales, and stop being ghosted, please get in touch.