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The telephone: Your vital marketing tool

01 Nov 2010

Do you notice the customers that you do the most business with are the ones that you talk to the most? Do you also notice how often you get to the end of the day and find that you haven’t contacted people that you planned to contact at the beginning of the day? Do you notice how quickly a week goes by these days, then a month, then suddenly half a year and there are still those people you intended to call to "keep in touch” with, but haven’t?

Making just 10 ‘marketing’ calls can often take an hour or more. To keep it up day in, day out, week after week is usually too great a burden. If an organisation can keep up its call or contact rates, it is often in a cyclical way. When you are busy, you are also too busy to make those calls. When you find that things are getting quiet again, you quickly jump on the phone and have a mad ring round. This succeeds in reactivating some clients, but then you become too busy again to ring. The organisation goes through a busy-panic-busy scenario.  Generally though, over time, it is able to reactivate less and less of these customers because they have drifted away to competitors.

Wendy Evans, in her book ‘Choose & Grow your own Business in 90 Days’, says there is compelling evidence that companies ignore relationship marketing at their extreme peril. She talks about the 90-day rule, which identifies the fact that when you communicate with your clients within a 90-day period, the propensity for them to continue buying from you goes up. The more you go outside the 90 days, the propensity to buy rapidly deteriorates and the relationship cools.

Telephone marketing and research is now a widely accepted means of customer contact used by New Zealand businesses. They recognise that this cost-effective means of live communication is both fast and effective. Using a professional team of communicators who project an intelligent and well-spoken presentation, will ideally result in a call that the recipient will feel comes directly from the organisation itself. In this way, the telephone marketing team supports the organisation’s own marketing efforts. Pre-qualifying the information to be worked on by their marketing staff saves wasting a lot of time on detail. This allows more effective use of time on calls, and they become more productive.

New customers can be obtained using the experience of the telephone marketing business to firstly obtain a new and targeted database, and then make contact to generate sales leads. A company’s database can be used, for example, to update the name and title of the appropriate person prior to a personalised mail or email campaign. This person could then be followed up with a telephone call to reinforce the mailing. The database could also be used for the rapid contact of customers in advance of a promotion or new product launch. Customer satisfaction surveys are a popular and effective management tool.

Have you ever held a function where you were disappointed with the numbers that eventually turned up? Invitation coordination can be undertaken by a telephone marketing company. The important part is a timely reminder call just prior to the event to confirm attendance, explain carparking options and double-check the names of any substitute guests for issuing name tags. This will help make the occasion a success.

Where routine, standardised or innovative contact is required, it is worthwhile to look at the cost and benefits of using an organisation specialising in professional communication. Costs are usually split into three areas: an establishment fee (the costs related to setting up the campaign, training and informing communicators on the company or organisation, and the project to be undertaken); the cost of establishing  or purchasing the database if this is required; and finally the cost related to completing the call (this is usually an hourly rate).

Is this a price worth payingto have contact with your customers or prospects every 90 days? 

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