As I try to grow a
business, sometimes I am also looking for products or services from
others. It is amazing to me how hard it is to spend money with
companies. Some companies have become so calcified that it is nearly
impossible to do business with them. I share an example below to
illustrate my point and to spur your thinking about how to make it as
easy as possible for new prospects to get in touch with you and do
The company: Yahoo! Hot Jobs
This week I called Yahoo!
Hot Jobs to inquire about their email services for employers. I called
the main number on the employers page. Below is a synopsis of the
- Call main number, press 2 for sales.
- System hiccups, sends me back to the main queue, pressed 2 again.
- Call answered by operator, we will call her Woman 1, explain what I want to do, sends me to Woman 2.
- Explain what I want to do (again) to Woman 2. Woman 2 listens,
then puts me on hold. Two minutes later Woman 2 informs me that Woman 3
is my rep. I am transferred to Woman 3. (I didn’t know I had a rep.)
- Woman 3’s voicemail says she is out for the week, talk to Man 1.
- Press 0, talk to Woman 1 (again), ask for Man 1 from the voicemail.
- Man 1’s voicemail says he is out today, talk to Man 2.
- Press 0, talk to Woman 1 (third time), ask for Man 2.
- Man 2 answers the phone!
The net result: A Frustrated prospect (me) and Woman 1 thinks
she is really really busy and needs to hire help to staff the phones.
25 minutes down the drain for a 3 minute conversation it felt like I
climbed Mt. Shasta. I had to be an intrepid and motivated customer to
get to the right person at Yahoo!.
The bottom line is that it did not
have to be hard at all and sales organizations everywhere should fight
this friction in the process as it is evil incarnate.
Try calling your organization as a sales prospect
from time to time – see how easy (or hard) it is for prospects to talk
to a knowledgeable person internally. The larger the organization, the
harder it is in spite of what you think and the more often the need for
the test. Try all communication methods – phone, email, fax, snail
mail, you never know how future customer will reach out. Remember,
prospects become leads, leads become customers, customers become