Tales from the Customer is an ongoing series of discussions on the virtues of good customer relationship management. For more tales, click here.
Ever since the first generations of life had passed on, humanity has dealt with haunted places.
Every town has its legend (or several) of a haunted house where the previous owners never rested in peace, or did things that trapped them inside their worldly abode to forevermore haunt the living that tread there.
Haunted houses have been all around Hollywood, with classics like Amityville Horror and Beetlejuice, and have come back into the spotlight with recent hits Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring.
But a haunted house, in its most basic sense, is a classic bait-and-switch. A beautiful new home just inviting new residents to take hold only to dash their dreams to pieces when they discover the terrors that await inside.
What the heck do haunted houses have to do with my business?
JobNimbus, as you know, is a CRM and project management software, and when most people start investigating us, they usually come asking about what we charge.
That conversation goes a little something like this:
Us: We charge $25 per user per month.
Them: And what do you charge for setup?
Us: We don’t charge for setup.
Them: And what about training costs?
Us: Trainings are free.
Them: And cancellation fees? Maintenance? Updates? Mobile apps? Don’t you guys charge anything else?
Us: Nope. Not really.
And when people finally grasp that we don’t have any hidden fees, they usually squeal. And dance. Lots of celebratory dancing.
It’s not so much that people love getting things for free (they do, don’t get me wrong), but they’re so relieved that there’s nothing going on under the table.
People want to know that they’re being dealt with honestly; that there’s no bait-and-switch.
Don’t hide in the basement, be honest
When you sell your product and/or service, you’re essentially inviting customers into your “home” where they can be at peace, relax, and have their needs met.
If that home contains hidden messages written on the mirror, or if it starts pestering the customer without them knowing beforehand, you’ve ceased to provide a safehaven and have become a danger to their peace of mind.
In the end, you’d have clouded and covered up the very reasons why they decided to deal with you in the first place.
Don’t let them come in with one idea and are now seeing what’s under the rug and inside the attic (or basement).
That’s not good.
Transparency is key
Contrary to popular opinion, ghosts are translucent, not transparent. Meaning, they are still visible, just not opaquely obstructive to your line of sight.
You don’t want to be translucent, like a ghost.
If you really want to acquire and keep your customers, your goal must be total transparency.
That means explaining everything upfront. That means providing written details about everything you’re going to do, everything you’re going to charge, and how you’ll go about it all.
You can keep documents like contracts and explanations of service to print or email and give to a customer, but be sure these aren’t ghost documents that are way too long to be consumed and, thus, translucently deceptive.
Keep everything clear, concise, to-the-point, educative, helpful, and labeled.
If you have something extra that you need to charge a customer, by all means do so. Just tell them with anticipation so that they are aware before making their decision.
If that means you’d face the possibility of losing some potential leads, then it might be time to revisit these charges or simply realize that these leads will leave your offer in good terms, possibly returning to you in the future.
Getting customers to come back is the real goal.
You don’t want your leads to just “move in” as customers only to run away screaming.
You want them to take a seat, kick back, and settle into a long-term relationship with you where every day brings another opportunity for repeat business, referrals, and word-of-mouth.