On May 10th, I filled in an enquiry form to O-C Group, to get a free trial of their service. The next day, I got an email back from their Hubert O'Donoghue, asking for more details, which I gave. "If you can send on the above details I will organise for the free trial which should be set up within the early part of next week."
From May 11 to May 17th - silence.
That's how not to follow up an enquiry from a potential customer.
Do you think I'm going to chase them up on this? No, because if that's how they handle a sales enquiry, imagine how bad must be the service that actual customers get.
A few days ago, I got a letter (on paper) from Santander, "I would welcome the opportunity to work with you". So I phoned Mr James Kelly there, and asked him what the cost would be, if I had an account with them, of paying my suppliers (I need to make a couple of dozen payments each month).
From then till now - silence. "I would welcome the opportunity to work with you". This is obviously a new meaning of the word "welcome" that I haven't come across before.
And the leased line saga with Daisy? That's still wending its dismal way onward. I escalated it to Daisy Management, so maybe there's some movement happening now - at least, I'm getting more emails from them. I told them that, somehow, other vendors have discovered that I'm in the market for leased-line service, and I'm getting contacted by them, and although I verbally agreed to go with Daisy a month ago (yes, a month ago) the fact that I don't have any actual in-writing agreement from them even a month later, makes me feel free to go with someone else. Apparently they have to check that I'm creditworthy (I've been paying for their service for the last 15 years) and that the installation is technically possible (it's been installed here and working for the last two years). You'd think that this would count for something. Daisy, it would appear, are trying their very hardest to rule themselves out as suppliers for my leased line serice.
Here's how I work. If someone contacts me with a sales enquiry, they get an email back immediately, answering their questions and inviting further discussion. If I don't hear from them within a couple of days, I send a follow-up email, asking if there's any information they need from me.
You see, customers are rare and precious; difficult to find, and difficult to retain. If you don't look after your customers, someone else will, and if you don't respond to sales enquiries, you won't get any new customers.
Is this the secret of business success? No, but forgetting this the secret to failure.