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Where is follow-up when you need it?

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The other day I was perusing the Internets looking for an insurance quote when half way through the form I was distracted and wasn’t able to finish entering all my information. I really wanted the quote, but had something more pressing I had to take care of. I figured that I would come back to the page when I was done with my errand and finish the quote.  It’s now two days later, and I still haven’t finished getting that insurance quote. The browser has long been closed, and to tell you the truth, I don’t even remember which insurance company I was interested in. Today, I am still without the insurance I want, and a company is out of a sale. How did this potential opportunity for both parties become a missed opportunity?

It seems today that many companies are failing to see the big picture when it comes to properly preparing and responding to internet inquires. Looking over various “major player” websites I have noticed a particularly troubling commonality. Most of these websites seem unwilling or incapable of follow-up with qualified, interested, consumer leads. On nearly every insurance website I visited, a phone number and or email was not required for a quote. Worse yet, I had trouble easily finding a way to submit my contact information at all. I was literally trying to give them a qualified lead and they had no way of dealing with it. Now don’t get me wrong- I am not really a fan of pay walls, contact walls, or any other type of “wall” that makes you input information to find what you are looking for, but to not even make the opportunity available for a consumer when they may want to, is downright unintelligent. Without collecting this information, any justified follow-up is impossible. I went to the website for something specific that I want to purchase that sooner or later will require me disclosing my contact information anyway, so why not sooner?

Today there is an overwhelming generalization made by corporations when it comes to consumers and how they utilize the necessary tools of communication to inquire about a product or service. The Internet is the least understood of these tools. Most companies seem to generalize consumers into two categories, those who want to be walked hand in hand through the sales process (telephone inquiry) and those who want to do everything by themselves. (The Internet) These are the type of people who will research, fill out their information, and purchase a policy—all without ever speaking to a human being. The truth is, there is a third category of consumers that need a separate kind of attention. These consumers (like me) are people who may research on my own, but then want and sometimes require follow-up. I am a busy person who sometimes fails in the multitasking department. A subtle nudge by an actual person or by even an automated email, can make me turn from a lead into a conversion. If that insurance company had given me the opportunity to enter my contact information quickly and easily for a follow-up I would have, and they would have had a sale.

There is a real difference between spammy contact attempts whether made via phone or email, and a genuine contact attempt made by a company. Consumers want and respond well to genuine contact attempts and very poorly to the spam.  I think companies either think that consumers are completely turned off by any contact whatsoever or they simply don’t have the capabilities to respond and follow-up properly. Regardless they are losing out on a major segment of the consumer pie.  Understanding the differences between the two and acquiring the infrastructure to respond and follow-up are the first steps to addressing this.

Pass the Beans!

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