The power of a courtesy call again came to mind, in one of our recent engagements with a long-standing customer.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a courtesy call as: “… a visit, or phone call that a company makes to customers, for example, to thank them for their business or ask if they are satisfied with the company’s service: Use courtesy calls to encourage feedback and strengthen customer relations.”
To be more accurate – and in our experience – the Unscheduled, Unexpected and Unplanned (3 U’s) courtesy call is one of the most powerful ways to build customer relations in the modern era of business protocol, corporate governance, socio-economic and legislated environments.
We cannot remember ever making a courtesy call to an existing customer (for no particular reason) and not feeling a sense of worth and value thereafter! Here are our golden rules that we live-by in making a courtesy call:
- We will never make an “in-person” courtesy call at a customer’s place of work. For us, that is what scheduled meetings are for and as such remains the standard in ou business engagement, whether it’s for formal, or business-social meetings.
- Instead, we prefer to make a point of irregular, unscheduled telephonic calls to our customers (and other business stakeholders), placing emphasis on the fact that we are calling for no particular reason. And fundamentally meaning it.
- In our opinion, we don’t see a follow-up call to check customer satisfaction, as a courtesy call. Every professional service provider, or supplier should check on satisfaction as standard practice. In fact, the customer will not be surprised to receive such a follow-up, after-service call. It’s the expected thing to do.
- What is not expected by the customer however, is the mindfulness of a service provider to call and check-in unexpectedly, with no agenda, no expectation and purely as a professional courtesy.
Our 3 U’s to a courtesy call:
- Unscheduled: irregularity of your courtesy calls over the lifespan of the customer relations is the key consideration here – no schedule to it, but it is a pointer engraved in your business ethos.
- Unexpected: the customer must be surprised to hear from you – in our experience “pleasantly surprised” will be the norm, once your customer gets to know that you are genuinely interested in the first instance.
- Unplanned: This ties-in with the unscheduled part of the call and underlines the “for no particular reason” statement.
Jon Kabat-Zinn defined Mindfulness as: “ the awareness which arises when we pay attention, on purpose, without judgement, to the experience of the present moment, in the service of insight, wisdom and compassion.”