Leaving Messages That Create Customer Loyalty
Plenty of people tell me, "I don't even bother to leave a message anymore because they never call back." Just the other day someone told me, "This person expressed interest and all I'm trying to do is follow up. She's the one who expressed interest! If she's changed her mind, fine. I wish she just had the courtesy to let me know, and I'd be glad to take her off my list."
I don't know, does any of that sound familiar (You might as well picture me with tongue in cheek right now)?
I recently had an experience that really helped me relate to what many of you are experiencing. Let me explain.
A few months ago I registered for a 10-session seminar series entitled "Integrity – The Bottom Line." At the very first session, the seminar leader requested that we fill out a form that night and communicate if there were any classes that we would miss during the three months of this seminar. Once we did that, the leader asked if we were committed to attending all the sessions, except for the ones we had written down. Everyone of us communicated that we would attend all the sessions except for the ones we had already indicated on the form.
The next thing that happened was that all of us were put into smaller groups of five or six people and we were asked to determine a leader for the group. I'll be blunt here. It would be easy for me to be a leader for such a group, which is exactly why I did not act at all interested in the position.
I wanted someone to have the opportunity to be a leader, someone who would want that opportunity, and even perhaps someone who does not typically get that kind of opportunity. As it turned out there was a young woman who really, really wanted to be the leader. Our group had no trouble telling her, "Great. Go for it."
Okay, Remember how everyone of us committed to be at all the sessions except for the ones we listed on the form that first night? Take a guess how many weeks all of us honored that commitment? Not even one. The reason I know is because I had agreed ahead of time to be a communicator for the seminar series, and as a communicator I got to call the people who did not show up for class.
Do I need to mention to you that every time I called someone, I did not get to speak with that person? Do I need to mention that I had to leave quite a good number of messages?
Oh, imagine getting a message like this, "Hey (Your Name), this is Tammy Stanley from your Integrity class. We noticed you didn't attend Monday night's class. Give me a call and let me know why." LOL! I did NOT leave any messages like that for a very obvious reason – who in his/her right mind would carve out time to call me back?
The mission I chose to accept was to leave messages that would inspire these people to call me back, when they missed a class that they had previously committed to and have a conversation about that. Therefore, the messages I left had to be completely free from any opinions of "right" or "wrong."
Prior to the fourth session, the leader of my little group did not send out an email to our group, she did not show up at our group meeting just before class, and she did not attend class that night. Of course I got the lovely job of calling and leaving her a couple of messages. She did not respond. Someone else picked up the ball and sent out email communication to our group the following week, and our leader did not bother to respond to that either.
After the fifth session our group leader finally sent us an email explaining that she had a lot on her plate right now, that she had decided to no longer attend any of the classes, and also it would be great, if any of us wanted to fill her role as a leader.
At the next class session I received the nifty list of all the people I had to call, and of course that "leader's" name was on the list. I had to ask for some private time with the seminar leader after class because I truly felt stuck. I implored, "How on earth can I call this person with no judgment in my voice after this stunt she has pulled?" (I'll just go ahead and remind you, dear reader, that the seminar series was entitled, Integrity – The Bottom Line).
The seminar leader's response immediately silenced that jarring little voice in my head.
He asked me, "Might the feelings you are dealing with be due to standards and ideals you have about leaders?" When I admitted they were, he then asked, "So why are you even in this class? Why did you agree to be a communicator? What do you really want to achieve from this experience and your participation?"
At that point my eyes filled with tears and I said, "There's so much in this class. She does not understand what she is missing."
The seminar leader and I both knew that in that moment I experienced the breakthrough I needed. In order to get away from judgements about this person's decisions and behavior, I needed to let go of my standards and embrace my values.
Is it possible that like me you fall into the pit of judgement about your customers and even the people on your team, when they fail to live up to your standards on proper "return phone call" etiquette? Is it possible that your standards of what is right is getting in the way of you creating a whole new kind of relationship with your customers and the people on your team?
I cannot help thinking that the questions my seminar leader asked me might prove very useful for you as well.
Why are you in this business?
Why did you agree to represent the products you do?
What do you really want to create and achieve from your experience and participation in this business?
If you come from your values instead of your standards when you answer those questions, you just might tap into a more appealing reason for getting in touch with your customers and, in addition to that, a more persuasive message that makes them feel good about calling you back.
I want you to know that as a communicator for that seminar series I did not have one hundred percent success, if by success the standard is that everyone for whom I left a message returned my call.
However, there were individuals who, after being totally out of integrity with their commitment, got back into integrity and completed the course because of the messages I left and the conversations we had from them calling me back. I know because they told me so.
I also had people come up and tell me how much they appreciated my messages, even though they had not called me back. They told me that my messages made them feel valued and that they had made a difference. When I view my success as communicator through the lens of value, I definitely feel like I was one hundred percent successful.
Hmm… is it possible that like me you could have far more impact than you realize when leaving a message?
What if the messages that you started leaving had no residue or "right" or "wrong". What if the messages you started leaving communicated in some way, albeit small, what you really want to create and achieve from your experience and participation in this business?
Here is what I believe. I believe that by learning how to leave messages that create value instead of establishing standards, you would develop a following of customers who feel outrageously loyal to you. Think of the business you might begin to fashion, and consider the impact a business built on strong relationships like that could have on the world at large!
If that sounds exciting to you, be sure to take a look at the audio program I offer on How to Leave Messages that Create Value and Get Your Customers to Call You Back.
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