Have You Been Ghosted? 5 Tips to Help You Engage Dark Customers
It's been two weeks and 4 emails since you've heard from your customer, looks like you've been ghosted? Now yes, it's possible they are out of the office, maybe they are super busy, maybe they are no longer at the company ... but maybe they are not compelled to respond.
Do your emails keep asking the same thing - "Hi Customer, It's been 4 weeks since we last spoke so I was hoping to lock down our next meeting. Is there a day and time that works for you?" If this sounds familiar, you're doing it wrong. You've not provided any insight into why your customer should meet with you; this message is so transparent - clearly it's all about you and some engagement metrics highlighting that you've not met in a while and you're checking a box. Now if you've found yourself in a similar situation with a customer or two, we've got to try something different.
1) Lead with Value
Instead of writing an email with little substance, try to pull together some interesting insights about how they are using your product and ways to optimize that to improve performance, highlight a use case from another customer that they can take advantage of to improve, maybe there is something you've read in the news about them or their market that you can leverage to align on their strategy or approach ... regardless of what it is, it's got to be of value to them, there has to be a compelling reason for them to engage with you. So take a look at your next email and before you hit send, think, if I was receiving this email, would I feel the need to respond?
2) Change Your Contact
Sadly folks are still very single threaded in their accounts which makes it challenging when a customer goes dark on you, you are basically cut off from the partnership with no lifeline. So just think about this before you end up here and work on building out relationships in the organization in advance. Ok, but here we are, so what now? Let's think about where we can find other folks to engage ... Start by looking at other users or folks who have had some involvement in the partnership - who signed the contract? who are the power users? who is the executive overseeing the business? Find new people who might want to engage with you and start reaching out to them. Connect with them on LinkedIn and try sending them a note there. Are any employees active in any communities? Does someone else in your company have a relationship that you can leverage? Sometimes folks are more likely to respond to someone in a senior role - can your manager or an executive help you out? Think about broadening your reach and leverage your team to help you engage.
3) Change Your Method
We are all so comfortable with email that sometimes we forget that there are so many different ways to engage with people. And when these people are your very busy customers, sometimes you need to change it up. Instead of sending the same email over and over again, try a few new tactics. First, pick up the phone, yes, that device right next to you and try giving your contact a call. Even if no one picks up, they will see that you are trying to reach them. Leave a message as well. If you have their cell phone number, you can also try and send them a text message, but only if you feel that's appropriate. Try to send them a note on LinkedIn, perhaps they are active and will see your message there and it might prompt them to respond to your email or even just your message on LinkedIn. What about in-app messaging? If you are using a tool like Intercom you can message your customer in the application and hopefully that will get their attention? What about good ole' snail mail? If you have your customer's address, which might be more difficult with many people still remote, but if you do, send them a gift in the mail with a personalized note. The point here is to diversify your methods of engagement; and hey, maybe it's a combination of a few of these that will do the trick.
4) Perseverance Pays
Don't give up after one failed attempt. I've found that in addition to changing the method of communication keeping consistent with my efforts helped as well. Now don't get this confused with what some might consider harassment, I don't want you stalking your customers, but stay on their radar. Don't send an email today and then call in a month. Maybe you are attempting to contact them 1-2x per week for a little while before moving on. Strike the right balance, get creative and keep at it.
5. Pro-Active Engagement
Sometimes you need to take proactive measures when trying to get the attention of your customer. One thing we've attempted is to proactively send over a meeting invite with the hopes that your customer will engage with it. If they accept the invite that's wonderful, immediately follow up with an email confirming the discussion agenda, objective, date and time - see what they say. If they decline, that's ok too, use this as an opportunity to respond and ask for a better day and time to meet. If you are using this strategy, here are a few quick tips:
Make sure to pay attention to their timezone and send an invite for earlier in the day
Make sure the subject-line is clear and references the reason for the meeting
Include a detailed agenda and objective
Send the invite to more than one person - increases your chances of the meeting being accepted
Send an email or message through another channel when you send the invite
At the end of the day, customers who are not seeing value in the engagement with you and your company will often go dark. They no longer see a reason to meet with you or respond to your out reach. The best thing you can do is try and set expectations clearly from the beginning of the partnership so your customer is clear on how and when you will engage. Then make sure your engagements are filled with value and insights that make it clear why they should engage with you again in the future.