Despite the proliferation of communication options during the digital age, there remains something special about the humble phone call. It feels more direct and urgent than anything else, and it allows convenience and nuance of tone that can’t be achieved through other means. This makes it the obvious choice for business communications. When it’s vitally important that a company reach one of its customers (to update them on an order, perhaps), it’ll surely call them.
But what if that fails? What if the customer just doesn’t pick up, or the call won’t connect in the first place? Since giving up altogether isn’t a practical option, this calls for alternatives — and that’s what we’ll be considering in this piece. Here, we’re going to consider how a modern business can reach out to its customers when calling fails. Let’s get started.
How to reach out to customers when calling fails?
Cater to inbound contact efforts
Is this technically reaching out? No, obviously not — but it’s incredibly important to note the significance of inbound communications. In other words, before you put extra effort into reaching out to someone, you should ensure that you’re not failing to convert their efforts to reach out to you.
Imagine you’re a customer who doesn’t particularly like phone calls (some people find voice discussions uncomfortable). You don’t answer when called, but you know there’s vital information on the line so you want to contact the company to find out what it is. How do you reach out? What are the viable options? This makes a big difference.
Above all else, you need an informative website that’s easy to find and stocked with relevant contact information. That means having a site with great copy well-optimized for search engine rankings, a reliable e-commerce platform, and several suitable communication channels. You should have an email address, social media profiles, a support ticket system, and — of course — an effective inbound phone support system. Even someone who prefers to avoid phone calls might ultimately deem them necessary, and making that process as graceful as possible is worth your time and effort.
Leave succinct voice messages
Something that has always frustrated me as a customer is dealing with companies that call me with information but don’t do anything to elaborate (aside from calling back several times). Instead of calling back, it’s easy to leave a voice message. The message doesn’t need to go through everything that was supposed to be revealed through the call (and in some cases, it legally won’t be able to), but it doesn’t need to. It just needs to clarify the point of the call and provide some options.
Does the customer need to call back later? If so, let them know the opening hours and expected wait time in your voice message as well as on your online portal. Can they get the information somewhere else? For example, if they have a user account for your store website, you could simply add the information as a note on their account, leaving them to check it whenever they get around to it. Voice messages are so easy, yet they add so much.
Try email or social media accounts
Emailing customers is often effective, particularly since every customer account should have an email address for order confirmations and other communications — but you need to be careful. An email that comes across as generic, regardless of the content, may be flagged as spam and go unnoticed. Your email should be personalized (manually personalized for safety) and quickly get to the crux of the matter.
And if emailing doesn’t work, you can turn to social media. You should have separate social media accounts for marketing and support purposes, and while it’s unlikely that most customers will share their social media account handles with you, you can likely track them down using their other details (most notably their email addresses and names). Get into the habit of asking for Twitter handles during account creation and this process will get much easier.
If you can find an attached profile, send a direct message to get the customer’s attention, then take them through whatever the next step is. And if you make every effort to contact the customer (calling, emailing, trying social media, etc.) but can’t get anywhere, don’t worry about it. There’s only so much you can do, and they can hardly blame you if they’re seemingly avoiding any updates from you.