The Definition of Madness

Monday, 27 June 2011 06:30
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If your business involves servicing customers, then you'll want to read this. (If it doesn't, then you don't have a business!)Do your company's customer contact personnel respond promptly to unsolicited inquiries?

Over the past few weeks, a number of contact personnel have not returned messages/calls to discuss my interest in their company's offerings. In my view, this is the definition of MADNESS. When one considers the amount of time, energy and resources that businesses dedicate to new customer prospecting, servicing unsolicited inquiries should be a universally top priority. Apparently, this is not so.While many companies do respond promptly to inquiries, some do not.

Consider the impact that responsiveness has had on outcomes in these current examples:

One of my clients is seeking specialized materials for use in their housewares products. I recently contacted one seemingly qualified provider's customer representative 3 separate times over a two week period without receiving any kind of reply (including "out of office", or any other excuse). As a last resort, I contacted an associate from a different department. I quickly confirmed their credentials and their material's likely suitability for my client's needs. My client has since exectued a material transfer agreement with them and is currenly conducting technical tests. Why should it have been so challenging to connect with this provider?   

In a separate instance, a tech provider candidate immediately responded to my inquiry regarding my client's interest in a partner to develop a new diagnostic test method. My client has judged them to be a "perfect fit" and it is likely they will receive a request for proposal. In contrast, a half dozen prospects that I also contacted have not even responded as yet. Unfortunately, these laggards will lose the opportunity to present their qualifications once a development agreement gets signed.  High performing customer contact personnel represent a powerful business development resource. Is your company fully leveraging this capability? 

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