Have you ever been stood up, especially by a date? That moment when you are sitting in a restaurant by yourself waiting for someone who promised to join you but for some reason, they have not.
And have not even bothered to let you know why. You are cuddling on a soft drink and playing with your phone as you try to mask the frustration.
Well, that is precisely how it feels sometimes when clients try to seek audience with corporate companies or service providers.
And I am not talking about that moment when you are sitting in an office waiting for the “boss” with a pile of old magazines before you.
Just like before the romantic date in a restaurant, we sometimes note down telephone numbers, toll free lines and email addresses of companies just in case.
The moment we see the ubiquitous “For enquiries please call 07xxxxxxxx or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we get our notebooks or phones and save this information.
And like night follows day there is always that time when you have a problem and you decide to seek assistance. On other occasions the company has a new product that you just don’t seem to understand and would love some explanations.
For the hospitality industry it could be for purposes of making booking a hotel room or just reserving a table. Whatever the reason, you have a client on one end with information gaps that he/she need to be filled.
It is at this point that a company had better keep their side of the bargain by providing a quick and satisfactory response instead of making the client feel like they have been stood up.
It is always better if you can respond to a query within 24 hours. If you are not able to assist immediately then at least make a promise to do so in the near future.
At no point should the client feel ignored or worthless simply because you are not responding to their query.
The moment you offered a telephone contact that clients can use to get in touch you promised a relief line and so it had better be a functioning one.
It actually pays be more specific on whether the numbers you have listed are office lines that can only used during working hours or whether it is a mobile line that can be used outside working hours or a 24 hour line.
It can sometimes get worse when it comes to email. You will be shocked by how many companies ignore or take ages to respond to email queries in this day and age.
The number of people with email addresses is high and can only grow.
This means that many of your clients can use email to get in touch with your company. So you had better be ready to respond to email queries as soon as possible.
Instead of using your BlackBerry to chat on Facebook, you had better be ready to respond instantly to an online query.
That is if you are a smart CEO. If you are not in office it does not hurt to let the person know so and promise to get in touch the next day or once in office.
Just remember that a customer is king and you had better respond when he/she has some trouble or else you’ll lose them.