The new year is always a good time to reassess what we’re doing with our customer and prospect communications. How have things changed over the past twelve months? I think that things have been more evolutionary than revolutionary, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less demanding on us all.
There’s no doubt in my mind that these days, there’s less forgiveness of any lag between the B2B and consumer sectors. Why aren’t our websites as clear and navigable as a newspaper site? Why do they not make it as easy to buy something as a book or a bed? Where’s the online chat? Why are the forms not as easy to complete as the NHS site? Why are the sites impossible to read on mobile devices? We may have good reasons for not keeping up with the consumer sector, but that doesn’t mean customers will understand that.
The pandemic has required more activity to be moved online in people’s everyday lives. A lot of organisations, commercial and non-commercial alike, have learned quickly and improved what they do. If we’re offering the same online experience as we did two or three years ago, that means we’re not keeping up.
In addition, customers want more self-service options than ever. The traditional argument that “we’re not selling socks here, customers need to have in-depth conversations with our sales team” remains valid. However, using that as cover to lazily provide the minimum of information to prospects remains a huge mistake. Fewer prospects than ever want to get in touch until they absolutely have to, so if we’re getting enquiries to which the answer is “we can’t service that requirement”, it seems clear to me that we haven’t been providing enough information up front. And if we don’t provide enough information up front, we will also be losing potentially profitable enquiries without ever knowing about them.