Are you making it easy for customers to contact you in the way THEY prefer to communicate?
I recently made a new connection via social media with someone in Columbus that works in media advertising. We have several other friends in common and decided to meet for coffee “in the real world.” While in the process of planning the meet, I provide my mobile number and suggest they contact me if delayed or something unexpected causes a change of plans. I always invite folks who have my mobile number to feel free to either call me or text me, whichever is easier for them. I do the same with my customers. I want to make it easy to contact me by whatever means they feel most comfortable.
I received an email response from my new acquaintance in which they provided their mobile number should similar circumstances arise on my end, but surprisingly they include a caveat stating they are not allowed to send or receive text messages, indicating there is an extra charge — asking me to instead use the phone if delayed. Just a few lines later in the message, my friend also states they’d proposed a plan by which to reach out to clients and prospects using Twitter, but it had been met with disinterest by the media company’s management.
The email caused my right eyebrow to raise (as it does when aroused by curiosity or incredulousness.) “How bizarre” I think to myself. I am extremely familiar with the traditional media company for which my new friend works. I know the challenges they struggle with in the face of shrinking ad budgets and the rise in popularity of their advertisers using new media to deliver their message to an audience of consumers.
“You’re not allowed to text?” I responded.
“I’m guessing you use a company mobile phone?”
“And you say they’re not interested in a plan to reach out to advertisers via Twitter?”
It seems like the once-invincible-but-now-vulnerable legacy media company is doing everything possible to limit the ways account executives can contact their advertisers — and in turn, the ways advertisers themselves are able to contact their sales representatives. You’d think they’d want to connect with that ‘endangered species’ (otherwise known as a PAYING ADVERTISER) in whatever form is most convenient to the customer.
I certainly hope this media company isn’t planning to woo any business from JetBlue. A recent article in AdAge magazine told the story of how the airline conducted a test of ad agencies to see if they put their proverbial money where their mouth is in terms of their knowledge and use of social media — and I don’t think there were any clear winners.
I suppose this is one of the reasons I’ve never personally opted to take advantage of an employer-provided mobile phone. I want my own toys to play with. I want the freedom to choose the best tools available with which to do my job. Frankly, if clients wanted to contact me via carrier pigeon, or I thought a telegraph machine would enable me to reach out more effectively to my prospects, you can bet your butt I’d be buying bird seed and learning Morse Code!