Great Communication is More Important than Ever
Many reading this will be too young to remember Bob Hoskins (who?!) imploring us to use the telephone more in his seminal TV commercials for BT in the late ‘Nineties. But for those of us that were around then the catch phrase ‘It’s good to talk’, delivered in Hoskins’ gravelly tones, entered into our daily language and is reeled out whenever we reference, well, talking.
Much has changed since then, not least that using the telephone to speak to someone can be something of a rarity. The advent of the Internet together with smartphones, has seen the introduction of texts, emails, and various ‘apps’ such as Facebook and WhatsApp that allow and even encourage communication between us, although some argue that little and often is at the expense of deeper, more meaningful physical dialogue – such as talking.
Compared to a time when for most, communication was via an occasional telephone call (if you were lucky enough to have a telephone) or a letter, there is little excuse these days to not keep in touch.
Despite this, many businesses are poor at communicating with their customers. And with multiple options to do so, failure to keep customers fully informed, can only be down to a lack of will. Or perhaps the means to manage customer communications; if not managed the process of establishing and maintaining regular dialogue with customers can be draining for a business.
Rhonda Ridge recognised this, when around the time Bob Hoskins was telling us how good it was to talk, she wrote the AdminBase CRM system, designed to manage the process of marketing, selling, surveying, installing and remediating replacement windows, doors and associated home improvement products. AdminBase allowed single input of all information relating to a job to ensure a huge reduction in administration and with it, a consequent reduction in errors. What it also enabled, was a managed approach to customer communications.
The earlier versions of AdminBase used texting, which had become popular in the early ‘Nineties and email which was rapidly increasing in widespread use, to send quotations to customers as well as updating them with progress with their order. Those early communications were relatively simple but, as technology has advanced so has the sophistication by which AdminBase can now manage customer communications:
“We have continually developed the communications features within AdminBase to enable highly sophisticated messaging to customers,” says Rhonda. “This includes the ability to automatically send messages via a number of channels, using pre-defined protocols. Messaging can be personalised or pre-determined, with the system easily set up to deliver communications automatically following a number of triggers, all of which can be set by the user. Everything can be tailored to the needs of the company and more importantly, the needs of the homeowner customer.
Ipswich-based SEHBAC is a one of South East England’s biggest window and door retail installers and uses AdminBase throughout his company’s operations, which includes 11 Show Centres in an area that includes Suffolk, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. The company has excellent customer ratings, which follows Managing Director Peter Wheeler’s emphasis on Customer Service: “Having been in operations management for over 23 years in the glazing industry I have witnessed a real step change in the customer’s priorities. It’s no longer all about having good products or carrying out a nice neat installation – customer service is the number one priority.
“We keep our customers informed of the progress of their order at every stage,” says Peter. And SEHBAC makes extensive use of the communication management tools within AdminBase to do so. “The [AdminBase] Dashboard lead times are set to your requirements and you can write your own scripts to personalise messages for your business; set up is also very user friendly. We have received fantastic feedback from our customers, with the constant updates that make them feel relaxed. The added benefit to us as a business is that by updating our customers via the system, we have seen a massive drop in phone calls to us from customers chasing progress. This allows us to operate with less administrators, so it pays for itself!
Bob Hoskins might have been encouraging us to use the telephone. But he was quite right: however it is achieved, it’s good to ‘talk’.
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