If we have to make mandatory purchases, fine. But once we’ve signed up, we don’t want to discuss it again unless the prices we’re being charged increase for no apparent reason. Then we want to know why—immediately.
If we choose to buy products and services from you, we want to do it when it’s convenient for US. And if we buy online, we want the same price we were quoted when the items are actually delivered. If your systems can’t make that happen, we’ll find a company that can.
If we need something more than what we’ve already purchased, the people who will help us understand that are our relatives, friends, and co-workers…not a commissioned salesperson who sends 1000 mailers a month or expects us to “come in for an appointment between the hours of 9 and 5.” We have a jobs, families, and social lives: Just like you.
Speaking of expertise, why should a customer have to call your office every time they have a question? Why can’t you just tell them in simple language how to use what they’ve purchased? Better yet, why don’t you post podcasts or video links on a blog or website? Then, even if it’s 10 pm we can find the answer instead of thinking about it all night. Customers do have smartphones, you know!
As for additional purchases: We prefer to research most things on our own. When we have a good understanding of their features and benefits, we’ll narrow down our options. Again, our friends and family bring things up because they’re concerned about us, but we’re not always in a financial position to do something at the moment. If we trust that you understand and respect our choices, we’ll actually look forward to having you help us put it all together when we’re ready. It’s not like we WANT to be in that position… We’ve just been forced to adjust a few priorities.
If we’re looking for a new company, we’ll ask friends and family what their costs are and how well they like their provider/representative. Then we’ll do research within our own networked communities. If they’re connected to someone we know, we’ll be more comfortable asking for an introduction.
Researching you online means you need to BE online. And if we contact you for help, you’d better respond if you expect us to EVER talk to you again. If you’re not where we want you to be, you don’t exist. We’re not going to waste any personal time looking for you.
What are we looking for in a brand representative, anyway? Well, if we share complementary world views and you’re empathetic to everything we just laid out, most of us prefer to have a personal (human) relationship. We’ll even add your number to our contacts as long as we can trust that the only reason you would contact us is to share something you think we’d find interesting or helpful. On the other hand, if you refuse to accept our way of doing things and don’t meet us halfway on some of these requests, we’re fine with getting our stuff online, even if it means we’re working with chat bots driven by artificial intelligence.
The choice is yours.