Earlier today, I ordered a sandwich and asked for “no onions”. I’m not a fan of uncooked onions in general. Well, of course I got the sandwich full of onions.
No big deal. I pulled them out (they even made a nice picture, don’t you think?).
Now, I’m not a good Yelper because I don’t complain about little things like this – especially online. There are plenty of other people who are better at that than I am.
But it does remind me about something that does impact a lot of businesses today. In fact, I bump into it frequently in my line of work.
Why Sales Process #Fails are Killing Your Online Results
Most businesses who have an online presence are getting an increasing number of leads via new channels.
- They might be getting phone calls based on what’s on their website.
- They may be getting emails from a contact form.
- They may be getting email subscribers to their mailing list.
- They may have people asking them questions, complaining or requesting contact via social media channels.
These are weak points where the sales process often breaks down (if it ever existed at all). If these channels are not monitored and if people don’t follow up quickly (or at all), then potential customers will be lost.
Some examples of #Fails that I’ve witnessed firsthand from companies I’ve come into contact with:
- A significant number of email leads being generated by a home products website.
- #Fail: Not following up quickly (letting them sit for a day or more before responding)
- #Fail: Constantly changing personnel frequently who are supposed to follow up
- Existing or new customer enquiries via Facebook messages to a Facebook Business Page (private to the business)
- #Fail: Not monitoring messages or following up with them (no one’s responsible)
- Complaints or Questions posted under posts on a Facebook Business Page
- #Fail: Not responding to these or to any other comments on the page
- #Fail: Publicly visible sign of “no one home”!
- Customer phone calls to a business (i.e. a restaurant)
- #Fail: No one picking up the phone, even during dining hours
- Customer complaints on a review site (e.g. Yelp!) about continuing poor service
- #Fail: Not addressing the complaints
- #Fail: Not looking at the current service level, how to improve it and comparing it to competitors
- Customers interacting with a “business page” on Yelp!, Google Places, Foursquare with no company presence.
- #Fail: Not claiming your business page; often not even aware it exists!
- Mailing List black hole
- #Fail: Not doing anything with your mailing list or not even knowing where they go or who has access to the account (true story).
Is your business at risk?
Is your business at risk of these things? I’m betting that you may be at risk of one or more of these actual failures mentioned above. I’ve seen it too many times to think these are isolated incidents.
What can you do about it?
There are a few things that you can do to iron out some of these sales process problems. You can:
- Mystery shop your own business (or have someone else do it) – go through the process at every touch point you can find and check responsiveness.
- Check your known social media properties like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp! and others. Are there comments, questions or requests left unanswered?
- Look for other social media properties, listings or profiles by doing a Google Search or by using tools like Social Mention. Claim and fill out the profiles for new ones that you find (yes, Google and other companies can launch pages for your company without you being notified).
- Don’t always assume the “whiners” are wrong. Look back at your company for any problem areas. Have an open mind.
- Respond to complaints, questions or praise when you find it. Don’t be defensive.
- Put someone on point for major channels and customer touch points. Make sure they follow up in a timely fashion.
- Check your website analytics to see where traffic is coming from. It’s likely that there’s a mention of your company on sites that send you traffic.
If you look out there, these issues are common. What other sales process or customer service #Fails have you seen recently? What can be done about that particular one?
And yes, those are the actual onions…