4 Steps To Get Customers On The Phone – Even When They Ghost You 👻

4 Steps To Get Customers On The Phone – Even When They Ghost You 👻

How do you deliver a great customer experience?

You talk to customers!!!!!

No tricks or shortcuts. MUST. TALK. TO. HUMANS.

Their unvarnished input, ideas, perspectives, and problems are mission critical to success.

That said, having conducted 1000s of customer check-in calls, sometimes the hardest part is actually getting customers on the phone (or Zoom)!

Here is my 4 step strategy to getting (most) customers to talk to you.

1. Send The First Email

Most people appreciate a heads up and unless you’re on a texting basis with a customer, email is the best first touch point.

  • Send an email saying that you’d love to hear how things are going and get their product and company feedback. People don’t like to answer a bunch of questions. They LOVE to share feedback though.

  • Other messaging to test with your customers

    • New features

    • Product roadmap

    • Be a case study

    • Account audit

    • Ask for their “help” (people love to help, it’s a trigger to say yes)

    • Offer help with a certain feature or tool setup that you know applies to them

    • Links to helpful resources (this can backfire…“I read the links, I’m good.”)

  • Position it as 10-15 minute call. Short and manageable.

  • Include a scheduling link (we like Calendly for obvious reasons 😉 ) and some times listed out. Don’t make them click into a link if they don’t want to.

  • Use their name, company name, and a personal detail if you can. No one will reply to an email blast or generic email (unless they are angry!)

  • Short and sweet! Now take out all the extra words. Mo Bunnell gives great tips on business development emails that also apply here.

2. Send A Second Email + Cal Invite

Your best and favorite customers will probably reply to your first email.

Most won’t.

That’s okay! They’re busy.

It’s probably a good sign that your product is not a hair-on-fire problem for them 😂

But you still want to talk to them!

Here’s what you do next…

Send a second email like this one:

I know you’re busy dominating marketing campaigns :) I’ll give you a try at 404-911-9111 tomorrow at 3p. I’ll optimistically send over a calendar invite but let me know if something else works!

Key details:

  • “optimistically” or “tentatively” seems to be a key word — makes it friendly instead of pushy

  • reply to/thread with the first email so they have context of your previous email

  • CALENDAR INVITE!!!!! Send over an invite as soon as you send your email. Include your name/company, their name/company, and a bit of context. So if they haven’t read your email and see the calendar invite, they know what’s going on.

I SWEAR this email has a 50% reply rate.

People will say:

  • Great, talk to you then.

  • How about at 2:30p instead of 3p?

  • Use this # I’ll be in my car.

  • Let’s do the same time but next week.

Or sometimes it will be things like:

  • Fine, no need for a call

  • Too busy to chat but we’re good

  • We’re switching to a competitor (ouch!)

But at least you’re getting info!

Fun fact: I got this strategy straight from a sales person.

What’s aggressive in sales is helpful and proactive with customer success! 💖 🙌 😁

3. Call Them Anyway

First and foremost, I absolutely, positively, definitely call them (or get on the Zoom) at the time I said. Even if they don’t reply.

You’ll get at least another 10-15% of folks who don’t respond but answer the phone or show up to a virtual meeting.

If I get 🦗crickets🦗 and no engagement, at the very least, it’s already on the calendar (Productivity Starter Pack Tip #2) so I’m accountable and have time to follow up.

Which leads me to…

4. Leave A Message & Send Another Email

The best laid (customer outreach) plans don’t work for everyone.

Use your calendar block to:

  • Leave a friendly message

    • Intro yourself, obvi

    • Indicate you’ll also send an email

    • Feel free to include 1 short tip, new feature, upcoming event they might like

  • Send a follow up email

    • BEFORE your goal was to talk to them

    • NOW — you want to share helpful info via email

    • Bullets, hyperlinks, still keep it as short as possible (3, maybe 4 bullets)

    • Customized to their account/usage/goals if possible

Even if we don’t talk this time, I build trust with follow through!

Make sure to include a Calendly link and open invite to chat when the time is right.

Next Time…

You never know what’s going on when someone doesn’t reply.

Here are real examples why a customer went dark:

  • 6 month struggle with Lyme disease

  • 7 tradeshows back-to-back

  • On vaycay!

  • Getting married

  • About to get fired

  • Testing a competitor’s product 🙃

  • Huge internal project/launch

  • Inbox overload

  • Prefers in-person

And 100 other things.

So if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Run your outreach playbook again next month or next quarter depending on the customer, your company size, and what seems reasonable without being annoying.

Figure out what works with your unique customer (at Rigor, engineers hated phone calls but loved email and chat!) and test new strategies, language, and resources.

What are your best strategies for gathering customer feedback? Any tips for getting busy customers to talk to you?