When I saw that my friend in New Zealand, Elias Kanaris, became CEO of the Customer Contact Network New Zealand, I just knew that I had to have him on the podcast to talk about the customer experience. There are so many things about customer experience and customer service that transcend borders. We had a great conversation that has so many applications to your business, no matter whether you’re a solopreneur or run a team.
Listen to this new episode for insight and tips into how you can create a better customer experience, right from the first contact.
About Elias Kanaris
Elias Kanaris is a thought leader in the area of resilience, leadership and building trust. He works with CEOs and their teams, building high performing team, navigating adversity and introducing T.R.U.S.T. as a business currency.
With over 25 years’ experience in corporate and not-for-profit organisations, Elias has used that experience to become an expert in helping leaders lead. He has developed a blueprint to empower organisations to navigate adversity to protect their brand, retain top talent whilst growing their bottom line.
Elias has spoken in 13 countries, on four continents.
Elias is the CEO of the Insight and Strategy Group and has served as President of the Global Speakers Federation (2018-2019) and was the President of the Professional Speakers Association of New Zealand (2015-2017).
He is currently the CEO of the Customer Contact Network New Zealand and a Chair for The Executive Connection in New Zealand.
Email: [email protected]
If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at [email protected] or visit my website Podcast.AlanBerg.com
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– Customer service and customer experience is international. Listen to my next guest and hear what I’m talking about. Hi, it’s Alan Berg. Welcome back to another episode of the Wedding Business Solutions podcast. I am so excited to have my friend Elias Kanaris on from New Zealand to talk about customer experience. Elias, how you doing today?
– Thank you, Alan, pleasure to be part of your podcast.
– And we’ve met through the National Speakers Association and the Global Speaking Federation, of which you were president and I am one of 40 global speaking fellows. So we have that going on there. And I had seen on LinkedIn where you were taking on a new position as the CEO of the Customer Contact Network New Zealand. And yes, that is a mouthful. And you did tell me that. Did I get that right?
– Absolutely spot on.
– Okay, so real quick, what is the customer Contact Network of New Zealand?
– Well if you think of customer contact, back in the day, we used to call these things call centers. And the call center by nature is usually an audio-based communication. Either you taking inbound phone calls or you’re making outbound calls. And they’re usually customer related, either selling or service but over the years, that’s evolved. And now in the digital world that we live in, the digital footprint means that you are literally taking inquiries from your website, you’re answering emails, you’re doing chats online as well as the traditional voice-based calls. And the Customer Contact Network in New Zealand is about engaging with the people who are involved at the frontline of handling your customer’s calls and contact and making or breaking you and your brand.
– Thank you. This is why I wanted to have you on, because the people that are doing that that are listening are doing this for their own business. And whether you’re doing it for your own business or whether you’re doing it for another business, whether you own the business or working for the business, the maker or break is right there on the front line at the point of contact. And I like to say that a lot of the buying signals that happen are out of sight of us. Someone does a Google search as a buying signal, you don’t see it. Someone goes to your website, chooses to stay or leave. You don’t see it. But the point that you get the contact, that’s the point where I’d like to say, first of all, they’ve eliminated most of your competitors. And this is like the relay race with the baton being handed from one person to the next. And now we’ve handed it over to your person there. So what is going to be your focus as CEO? What is your focus there of making this experience better for both the companies, the employees and the customers?
– Well, I guess it’s a great question to ask, Alan, and let me go back half a step before we go forward a couple of steps. When you think about what’s happening today, our customers are channel surfing. When I say channel surfing, let me explain. They, as you rightly point out, will go and research you through maybe the adverts you have for digital footprint that you’ve got, your website, your radio ads, your print ads, etc., whatever it might be that you’re doing. And at the end of the day, when they make a decision to connect with you, they are going to probably speak to somebody who might be working from home. So the question is, is the experience consistent across every channel that you’re dealing with? So within the Customer Contact Network New Zealand, we are about empowering our industry to look at this and say, how do we share best practice? How do we understand the impact of working from home? COVID, unfortunately, in the pandemic, forced us out of these traditional work pods where we were coming into the office doing work together in our little booth into working from home where you’re unsupervised, where kids can be running in and out and you think yourself, how does that affect the perception of how our organization works? And we at the customer contact network New Zealand, are all about how do we look at focus groups? How do we look at sharing best practices? What can we do to train people to have the best experience for our customers going forward?
– And if you had to break that down, because whether this is the call center, or whether this is somebody who just happens to have their own business and they’re a photographer, they’re a planner, they’re a DJ, they’re a whatever, and they have an office in the house and there might be kids running around and there might be a dog and there might be all these other distractions that we have, what are some of the things that help keep that focus? Or what are some of the things that your network has? What are the tools for the person who is now responding to those inquiries?
– Well, I think if you look at everything to do with the contact center world, I usually refer back down to three individual Ps, the letter P. So the first P is the product. So the product you’re using, be it hardware, software, for example, the phone type system that you might have voice over IP, whatever it might be, has got to be fit for purpose. So it’s got to be not necessarily the best of the best, but good enough to do the job. So you don’t have to invest a huge amount of money in technology, but good enough to get good quality. So if it’s fit for purpose, then the second thing people have to have is the second P, which is a process. So you have to have a process you can wrap around your product. And that process has got to be robust. So if you think about this, you might be using a phone to answer it, you might be answering something from your computer through a headset. As long as that’s good enough quality, what’s the process you have around that? Does the process include a greeting? And is the greeting professional or are you sounding like a hic from the boonies? We’ve got to really think about how do we present ourselves. So a fit for purpose product plus a robust process, I said there’s three Ps. And the third P, have a guess. What do you think the third P is Alan?
– Personality, very close. It’s actually the people and the people that you have, whether it’s you, yourself, etc., are going to be critical in working through. So if you start off with yourself, are you the best person that you can be? So if you are running your own business, you’re a photographer, you’re getting an inbound call, ask yourself now, am I professional or am I a club? Because the way that you operate is vastly different. A professional will say, “Good morning, welcome to eliaskanaris.com. You’re speaking with Elias.” As opposed to somebody else who might be a club that says, “Hello? Hi.”
– Right, well, something else with this people, everybody should be in the right seat in their company. And I have this conversation a lot because a lot of wedding and event professionals, sales is not why they got into the business. I would say this is the majority of people, and I would say this is the majority of entrepreneurs, very few get into the business to do sales. They get into the business too. Why did you get into the business you love? Fill in the blank. You’re good at fill in the blank. You have an idea for a product, for a service, whatever. But guess what? The difference between the club and the professional is the sales, that’s what makes the difference. And there are some people that maybe just shouldn’t. Actually, in my new book, “Stop Selling and Help Them Buy,” I have chapters about it. It was almost a book for people who hate selling. And I said, “Well, maybe you don’t hate selling.” But the subtitle is for people who love doing events more than they love selling them, because that’s the part there. So there could be a point where you say, “I’m not the right person. I should not be answering the phone or answering the emails” and things like that. But the process part, this is the thing that I speak about so much, responding to the inquiries and the following up on the inquiries and doing things like that and having a process, understanding that sometimes, you need to change the process. If if it’s not working, you need to change the process. So what are some of the things that you’d look for as a company that has salespeople that are fielding inquiries? And a lot of them digital inquiries these days. What are some of the biggest metrics that people are looking at or should be looking at?
– That’s a great question to ask again, Alan, because let’s look at the aspect of selling and aspect of buying. Researcher out there, I’m not sure how to date this is, but I know that years ago we used to talk about the fact that there could be as many as 13, one, three, 13 contact points and opportunities to sell and to close a piece of business. So if somebody comes and makes an inquiry, they’re on your website, that is one point of contact. Have you got an opportunity to look at closing that sale from the very first aspect? If you think about some of the old traditional ways of talking to a potential customer, and let’s say you’re selling an automobile for argument’s sake, you might turn around and say, “Would you like that in white? Would you throw one in red?” So a simple question can be a form of closing. Now, when you think about this, the metrics, the metrics are how many times are you communicating and building trust with your customers? Because if you think that it’s a one and done deal, you are wrong. And I think we’ve spoken about this in the past, Alan, where you’ve really got to be able to engage with your customers and then answer their questions. They have doubts, they have worries, and they’re looking for you to reassure them. So people will buy from you when three things happen, when they get to know, like, and trust you. And trust doesn’t happen immediately. It happens over time. So one of the metrics that I would look at is how frequently are we going back? Now once we’ve answered the first level of inquiry, are we coming back with some follow up that allows us to then add even more value to build up that trust and to get them to know us, to like us so they will make that purchase.
– And value was a word there. So thanks to Bob Burg for “The Go-Giver” book with the like and trust, I mention him all the time, no relation to me, B-U-R-G, but value. Every time you have contact, you need to add value. We’re speaking the same language. That’s why you have to put glasses on ’cause then, we just look like brothers. But you need to add value at every point of contact, otherwise, it’s transactional instead of relational. And this is that whole follow up. So the taking your time, I think this is something, what I would say the biggest mistake that people in my industry do is they get an inquiry and they try to jump six steps ahead. They try to go from “Hi, I’d like to get more information,” which is usually pricing and packages. ’cause they don’t know what else to ask. Jumping right to, “I want a phone call, I want a meeting, I want you to come into my place of business, I want you to come and take a tour.” And that’s five, six steps ahead, which might be short emails back and forth, but five, six steps ahead. So do you see that mistake in in other fields as well that people are just trying to rush the process?
– Oh, 100%. If you look at the traditional metrics within the contact center environment, the larger corporates who think of the banks, think of the insurance companies, maybe think of municipal governments, agencies. They have an overhead in terms of people who they pay for to answer these calls. So they’ve got one of two choices. They can either employ more people, which costs them more, or they can try and encourage their people to handle the call in the shortest amount of time. And if it is short time, time is money. That’s what they all tell us. But when you rush the opportunity, you lose that ability to develop the relationship. And you mention that word, which is such a powerful word, a word in our industry. So I go back to my heritage in the contact center industry where I was running the, what’s a company known here in New Zealand as the as seen on TV company. So if you think about the days when you’re at home and you’re unwell and you’re switching through QVC and you see the ad and they say, “But wait, there’s more.” Yeah, we used to handle those calls, but quite often, we never gave the price because we wanted to talk to the client about the value and the benefits of what it is they’re purchasing. So people would call us and we have a lot of inquiries coming through. So the first level we had to do was literally just take their phone number, their name and the product they wanted to inquire about. And then we’d have one of our specialists call them back. So let me just pause here a second because think about that differentiation. Somebody’s taking the inbound call quickly. “What’s your name?” “Alan.” “What’s your phone number?” “555-1000.” Then you would turn around and say, “Well great, what product, Alan?” You say, “I want photography.” Superb, our photography agent will be getting in touch with you shortly, thanks for your inquiry.” Okay, now that’s contact number one. Now we had to then get back and speak with you and develop this relationship. And really all you want to know is how much. And I wanted to really understand where you’re going to be using this, what are the metrics around the need? And then you had to engage with the client and then persuade them and see what they’re due so they could then make the purchase. But let me just pause again. You have the inbound call, I take your details. Then you have the outbound specialist who’s a salesperson, develop a relationship with you. But here’s the interesting kicker, and I think our audience needs to think about this. What is the time between getting that inbound call and then connecting with your audience? And we used to call this the half-life of a lead. Now you think of radioactive material, it has a half life. It expires over a period of time. So for every half and hour you took between your inbound call coming through and us reaching out to you, the chances of you buying would diminish by 50%. So if I waited an hour, the chance you buying is now only 25%. And so it continues. So the question I want to then ask, what are we doing and how diligent are we at getting back to our clients and our prospects? And are we developing that relationship in a timely fashion, even if it’s not to close the sale, but give enough information and then follow up with further value?
– So nobody in our industry is going to take a phone call, I would hope, and then say, “We’ll call you back,” because most of the businesses don’t have those layers in there for that. So, but you get the inquiry. We know that speed matters. And unlike this as seen on TV where they’re probably not calling six as seen on TV people. They saw your adverts, so they’re calling you. Here, you’re still competing against three to five to seven other people. So we know that speed matters according to the biggest wedding website here. They’re not couples choose the first one who gets back to them about half the time. I contend that it’s not just getting back to them quickly, it’s getting back to them well. Which is also then not trying to rush that process, not trying to jump six steps ahead and getting to the consistency. ‘Cause you mentioned that a little bit ’cause if you had five different people answering the emails, answering the calls from their homes remotely, are they all doing it well? Are they all doing it at level? ‘Cause some of the most loved and hated companies are like the cell phone companies and the cable TV companies. And it really comes down to a lot of the time, who answered the phone? When you call in, who answered the phone? See you find that as well down there?
– Oh yeah, for sure. Your first point of interaction is the most important one. They say you have three seconds to make a first impression. And it is absolutely about that whole first call contact. But go back and whilst I agree Alan, that most of your audience are not going to take an inbound call and then wait and call them back, but they’re probably getting an inbound inquiry via email. And how often does that email sit there waiting for somebody to action it? And that is again, who’s the first one who comes back to me? Win a chicken dinner chicken. Into that, it is about that speed of response and then the value of doing it through. So now we’re seeing, I think another dimension coming in as we have artificial intelligence starts to impact in our websites. So suddenly you’ve got people who are using artificial intelligence to do some level of selling and pre-
– Qualifying. Pre-qualifying.
– Yeah, pre-qualifying. Thank you. And that’s going to be important that you use technology to your advantage, but have that process that we were talking about before. If you have another process in there, then it’s going to be so difficult to make this work and to make the interaction a pleasant one for your prospects.
– So let’s talk about this, ’cause this is an experience that everybody listening has had at one point or another, we’ve reached out for help. We’ve reached out because we have a question, we reached out ’cause we might want to buy something. So we have some questions, which let’s face it, we do what the customers do, we ask how much it costs. We ask the same questions. Let’s talk about the idea of the sales script. So the use of a script by people. ‘Cause I think, I know I’ve run into people where you can just tell they are reading word for word. They’re not listening, they’re reading. One time, I actually had to stop someone. I was ready to buy and I stopped them and I said, “You don’t have to sell me on this. I want to do this. Just sign me up.” And I literally heard, click, click, click, click, click, click, click. Like they’re finding the place in the script where the customer said yes ’cause it was too soon. It was too soon. They hadn’t gone through all the words there. So what is in your role that what you’ve had before in your role, what you’re going to have now, the place of sales script versus letting the customer service person or the salesperson kind of do it, find their own way?
– I’d like to suggest that today, we’ve got to come back into relationships. We’ve been talking about that earlier on. Now it’s important to have a level of structure and scripts give us a structure. But I don’t know if you saw a film, it came out maybe a decade or so ago called “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”
– And it’s one of my top 10 favorite films where they have a bunch of retired people from the UK who outsource their retirement to India because it’s cheaper there. They can live longer for less. But one of the characters, one of the main characters ends up getting a job in a contact center in Mumbai or wherever they are in India. And they have the script. And the script is so rigid and stiff that it does not empower the interaction. And if you just follow the script, you are going to sound robotic, let’s be honest. And so we are trying to encourage people to build the relationship, which is counterintuitive against, “I’ve got to make a quick phone call. I’ve got to get off the line quickly ’cause time is money.” No, no, no. In this case, the building relationship is going to lead to a better experience that can then encourage them to talk positively about you, whether they buy or they don’t buy. It’s that memory of that interaction that helps. So let me then share if I can, a story of probably what not to do. And I had a situation where, and I’ll use this from a practical aspect of day-to-day activities. So I had a device and the device didn’t work and the message came up on the screen, “Please call this number for support.” So I called the number and I was greeted by somebody lovely, very pleasant person I think out in the Philippines who handled the first part of my inquiry, said, “Sorry, I can’t help you. I have to pass you over to our expert.” Happens to be based in New Zealand. So the person I was on hold for over an hour, can you imagine the frustration? Listening to the message that tells you, “You are important to us.” If I’m that important, get to me quickly. And then I get to a person who then starts to interrupt me as I’m trying to explain and talks over me. And then I’m given instructions to go and do something so I go off and start to do that. And in the pauses between the instruction and I’m trying to do something, I hear what I observe as a tapping sound. And then we continue to talk and then in the pauses in between, I hear this tapping sound and suddenly I realize it’s not a tapping sound, it’s actually a chopping sound. And that’s when I reach out and I say, “So, what are you having for dinner tonight?” And the person says, “Oh, I’m having this particular dish, an Indian curry.” And I said, “Does that have vegetables in it? Said, “Yes. In fact, I’m just preparing my vegetables now as I’m talking to you.” I’m thinking, “Really?” I know because I can hear some working from home and I’m thinking to myself, how damaging is that? And because now I talk about that experience with that organization, I’m not going to mention them by name obviously, but people that I know on a personal level, when I hear that company’s name come up, I say, “Oh man, can I tell you a story?” On the other hand, when you get somebody who goes out of their way, as I had recently with my utility provider and for some reason, my payment was dishonored and I didn’t know why that was dishonored. And I spoke to somebody who was incredibly polite on the phone. “Mr. Kanaris, can I just please put you on hold? I want to ask my supervisor a question. Is that okay?” “Yes, I’d love that.” And for 15 minutes, she handled me so well and helped me resolve the problem that somehow, somebody within the organization had changed the bank account details on my records. And that’s why they couldn’t process it. But she handled the call so well and now, I advocate for that organization ’cause of that level of service.
– And the thing is, you and I are speakers, so you give us a great experience, we’re going to tell people. You give us a terrible experience, we’re going to tell people. I will have another episode coming up. I won’t give the whole story, but it was one that I had a problem with a product, I call, I get the, “We’ll be right with you,” and then nobody ever picks up. “But if you press one, we can text with you.” So I finally press one and I got to text immediately. Somebody will be right with you. 12 minutes to get a person on there. In between, I went and I Twitter shamed them and Twitter, well what is it? X now, it’s not Twitter, but they usually respond really quickly. Zero response, zero. I couldn’t even shame them into responding and then it ended up ending up well, but not because of them. But again, the same thing. Air Canada, one time I called, I wanted to change a seat or change a flight or something I couldn’t do online. And the voice message said, “Your expected wait time is 89 minutes.” They might as well just say, “We don’t want to talk to you.” Well that’s what Frontier Airlines did. You probably heard about that. Frontier Airlines got rid of their personal customer service and you can only do through email or AI chat or something like that, which is kind of ridiculous. So in a former role, I was with a company that efficiency was the way they measured customer service. And that’s what you’re talking about. How quickly can we get you off the call? How quickly we can do that. And I remember saying to the COO, efficiency doesn’t mean we have happy customers. It means you check the box. We’d solve this thing. But there’s no box there that says, is the customer happy? Is the customer thrilled? Is the customer advocating? The way you just described is the customer to advocate. And I proposed this idea for customer service. I was not head of customer service. And the person that was head of it wasn’t kind of coming along for the ride of changes that were happening with the company. So they came to me and said, “Okay, we want you to do that thing you said.” I said, “What thing?” And they said, “That new idea for customer service.” I said, “Whoa, I’m not…” Of course, they took nothing off my plate, they just gave me that. But the one thing I want to bring up here is when I taught the team, first of all, I said, “You’re going to handle almost everything people contact you about.” They said, “Wait, but we don’t know the accounting stuff. We don’t know this.” I said, “No, we’re going to teach you that.” We’re going to teach you that because how many times do you want to be transferred when you call? Zero. How many times do you want to be put on hold? Zero. So that’s our benchmark. And if you can’t handle it, you know somebody that can, but you don’t know if they’re available. So you’re not going to say, “Let me transfer you to get someone’s voicemail.” You said, “Let me see if they’re available.” And if they’re not available and you say, “You know what? They’re working with somebody else now helping them solve their problem. They will get back to you within the day or two, they will definitely get back to you.” We want to set an expectation we can exceed. We want to make it longer, but we’ll exceed that. But when they answered the phone, this is what I wanted them to say. “Hi, thank you for calling company. My name is Alan and I can help you.” Not, “Can I help you?” “And I can help you.” I wanted, from the very moment I wanted people to say, “Well this is going to be different because Alan said, ‘My name is Alan and I can help you.'” ‘Cause isn’t that what we want? That was like the benchmark. I said, “I know it’s going to be funny to say that because everybody else says, ‘Can I help you?’ Well they need help. They didn’t call us ’cause they didn’t need help. They called us ’cause they couldn’t do it themselves or whatever.” So my name is Alan and I can help you. And right from the get go we go back to the script. I believe that sales scripts are important and customer service scripts are important for training. ’cause they give us the tools, they give us the words and phrases. But just like in the glove box in your car, there’s a manual and you only refer to it when you don’t remember how to do something. I think that’s what a sales script is for. Otherwise, we should let people drive. If we teach them well, I think we should let them drive.
– You’ve just described a great concept, which is framing. You’re framing the conversation, you’re framing the expectation, and you are also training your staff to learn the components of what they have to do. When you think about the efficiency, yes, you’re going to introduce technology, which is going to have some benefits. Now, when you introduce new technology, make sure that you measure and improve. ‘Cause you always have to go back there and say, “Has this actually made it better or worse? Do you need to improve the process that you have around this? And do you have to adjust that accordingly?” Because as you say, people don’t want to be put on hold, they don’t want to be transferred. They want a one-stop shop where they can go and get one person to help them deal with the inquiry. So even your your own audience, your customers that are in the wedding industry have got to understand how is their interaction with their clients going? Do they have technology they’re implementing that has to be improved and adjusted? Are they offering the right group of people to handle the inquiry so you can focus on what you are best at doing? Because these are the sort of things that we now have to look at it. If you treat this as a business, not just a club, and you are professional about how you operate, I think you can add value and you can stand head and shoulders above your competition. It is a crowded market space. But I tell you what. Great customer service, customer experience, I think we refer to it as is so few and far between that you can stand out like a diamond and a crowd.
– So coming back to the measurement things. Measuring efficiency again misses the point of the customer satisfaction. I had a client of mine in Ireland that called me one day. He used to work in a British telecom call center. And 100 calls a day, make 100 calls a day. That was their thing. And he said to me, “When you were vice president of sales at The Knot, the largest winning website in the United States, how many calls a day did you require your reps to make?” And I said, “I didn’t. I didn’t because you get what you measure. And if I measure phone calls, I get phone calls.” I said, “I measured sales and I know that my top reps made fewer phone calls because they had better phone calls, because they listened better, because they talked to their clients. Instead of just call, call, call, call, call, call, call. Well if that’s what you want, you will get that.” And there that comes again, back to the what are we measuring here? So what are some of the things that some of your clients are trying to measure to understand the customer satisfaction as opposed to check the box, yes. I got their product working for them again after how long? Waiting on hold an hour waiting on hold. Yup, check the box. Got it working.
– I think that you definitely have a number of organizations that go out and do post-call surveys and they’re very common and you’ll ask a couple of simple questions that we resolve it straight away, work your way through. I think it’s important to keep on measuring that and asking your customers to give you their feedback. But I think that you started to mention a very important element, Alan, of how we operate and what we focus on. I remember listening to a fantastic speaker years ago actually through, I think it was the Amway business. He was quite successful and he turned around having been involved in law. He joined the law firm and went up the ranks and suddenly realized that the people above him were not the sort of people he wanted to become. So he ended up turning around and saying, “Okay, instead of doing that, let me get involved in a different career.” So he went into recruitment. Now he was very, very successful in recruitment, but he came in at about nine, 10 o’clock in the morning. He had long lunches and left early. Other colleagues who were there at 6:30 AM through till almost 9:00 PM were very disappointed. And they started to grumble about this individual. So the boss brought him in and said, “Joe, tell me more about why you’re not coming in at this time and leaving at that time.” And he said, “Well, to be honest, I can offer you one of two things. Either pleasing methods or pleasing results. Which do you want?” Now, personally, I prefer to go for pleasing results. If it means that we have to spend more time on the call, let’s spend more time to get pleasing results, get our customers happy and resolve that because that’s going to drive the revenue in our organization and the referral because, still the number one thing we do, we go onto Google, do a Google review, and we check out what’s their rating. How many organizations have a five-star rating? Very, very few. But you’re going to choose between one that’s sitting about 4.8 or one at 3.2, where are you going to go? And those that give great customer satisfaction will then see their rating reviews increase. And I make a point of always going on and giving great customer service a great review on Google. And you can see more and more of our customers asking their customers to go out there and say, “Please review us on NoCowboys or Google Review,” or whatever it might be that they need in their industry.
– Right, and hugely important with something I’ve spoken about here a lot with that is getting reviews. I think I just got my 103rd Google Review, all five stars. And partly by asking, and that’s a whole nother discussion here on that one. But again, the satisfaction. So one thing that I do a lot of it I told you is secret shopping. And my virtual assistant is the actually daughter of a couple that owns a wedding venue. She’s much closer to the demographic of a wedding couple than I am. And she’s doing the shopping for me. And I asked her, I said, “So we’re looking at some of these replies that came in from different companies and I know what I think of them.” And as much as I’m not the demographic, I can put myself in the shoes easier than a lot of other people just ’cause of what I do. And I said, “So what do you think of the way that some of these people are replying versus what I teach, which is a much more conversational thing?” And she said, “It doesn’t sound personal, it sounds corporate, it sounds canned, it sounds copy paste, ‘Here’s my brochure, and then why aren’t you coming in to meet with me?'” That’s what it gets there. And this is what I try to get across to people is they don’t care how many other customers you have, you have to show an interest in them, As we always say, be interested before you’re being interesting, that whole idea. And that same personal thing, that’s what people want to know is this not rigid script thing, but just make it feel now you can copy paste. It just shouldn’t look like it. that’s the whole idea over there. So I’m just looking at the clock and I need to cut us off because we could do this all day long here. So what would you suggest to people that don’t have a staff? That they might be the one that they have to answer these inquiries. They might be the solopreneur or the small enough business where they’re taking the inquiries, they’re responding, they’re back and forth there. What would be just a couple of pieces of advice that are focus on this?
– Yeah, look, I go back to, you mentioned, Bob Burg at earlier on in this conversation and Bob wrote a great book that was very influential on my career called “Winning Without Intimidation.” And this came out maybe 15, 20 years ago. And in that Bob says, “When you are connected,” this says the go-giver. “When you’re connecting with somebody, compliment them about something they’re doing and find the good in somebody else.” So always make your communications positive and put yourself in the feet or the shoes of your customer. How would they behave? And the tone and the content in your communications, even if it is a cut and paste, has got to be designed with the end of mind of connecting with your customers, adding value and complimenting them and irrespective of whether they sign up with you or they don’t, make sure that they feel that they are being heard and that they are being respected.
– Listen to their language, whether it’s in writing and if you repeat back their words, they know that you’re listening. I talk about results with them. Don’t talk about the products and services. ’cause nobody needs products and services. They need the results of those products and services. So the same thing again, we’re brothers from another mother. This is from halfway around the world. This is why I invited you on Elias Kanaris. Thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you for sharing your wisdom about this. Best of luck in your new role there. They are so lucky to have you with that.
– Thank you, Alan. Been a pleasure to be a guest on your podcast.
I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is [email protected]. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.
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