Behind the Counter: The Least You Can Do is Call
During a business strategy session at the CEDIA Management Conference about four years back, Ken Smith asked the roomful of custom installers how many of them called back past customers to see how their home theater and control systems were working, if they needed anything or if they were interested in seeing some new products or solutions. Out of a dozen people, only about two hands went up. One installer even asked, “You guys really call back your customers?”
Smith, president of Custom Electronics and past president of CEDIA, urged the audience to make customer call backs part of their regular business operations. It worked for his company. Earlier that year, Smith combed his database, compiled a list of past customers and set aside some time each day to call them. All of them were glad to hear from him and 90 percent said they’d love to see him regarding some type of product or service. Most of those turned into sales.
So it came as somewhat of a surprise when I met up with Speakercraft president Jeremy Burkhardt at the CEDIA Expo and asked what the most pressing topic he had on his mind. “Customer call backs,” he said, with no hesitation. A few years back, when the housing and credit crises were still on the horizon, many installers figured the business would keep coming in. Obviously, that’s no longer the case. A wealth of untapped business can be found in a Rolodex or database for dealers who take the time to organize a simple callback strategy. Broad-line CE retailers building up their own installation divisions also have to establish a callback process.