What Is Self-Qualification And When Do Customers Hate It?


Self-qualification in a sales/marketing sense simply means a lead that wants to inform themselves by doing individual research without prompts and nurturing through targeted campaigns and follow-ups.

These days, buyers have a very varied path-to-purchase with a huge consideration stage involving multiple channels, comparisons, peer reviews, searches and sharing.

An example of this would be a real estate prospect’s experience. They will visit multiple property portals online before settling on an agency or a collection of properties they want to pursue. According to Inside Real Estate “90% of all home buyers start their home search online, and are more likely to communicate via the web.”

For a brand, knowing, when to step in and bring them over to your side, is down to how the data (acquired from touch points along the way) is analysed. Customers will call or reach out when they need you. The onus is on a brand to make sure there is enough relevant and targeted content within that time period.

When customers call

At this point, customers have researched and settled on options. The calling process should be as smooth at the online journey. However, often the calling process for customers is rife with IVR issues and the kind of self qualification they don’t like, which involves a myriad of numbers to press and drawn out call queues.

In summary, the best self qualification is the one where customers feel empowered and informed about a brand on their terms, with helpful and targeting care along the way.

The kind they hate? An outdated IVR process that requires them to do all the work to close a sale.

The Art Of Breaking Through Customer Communication Barriers

customer communication

Conversations through technology have come a long way, the space contains both personal and professional interactions. When it comes to customer relationships, our approach to communication seems to lack much-needed personalisation. A border can form between customers and agents made of misunderstandings and incorrect data. There are ways through this.

Our CEO Anne de Kerckhove was recently featured in an article by French journalist David Abiker, in it, he comments on Anne’s speaking appearance at a conference they both attended. Her topic of choice focused on breaking down borders, both in business and life.

During the presentation, David and the audience noticed that her zipper hadn’t been done up – what the French and David call “the detail that kills” or “le detail qui tue.” Instead of shying away from the issue, Anne chose to face her faux pas and make it a funny interlude. She addressed the crowd, “Yes I know, I have the zip opened, I broke it in the bathroom, that’s how it is…” Immediately the air in the room changed from awkward silence to joyous relief.

One little zipper distracted the crowd of listeners from a vital discussion but it also proved her point. We can dissolve barriers by acknowledging their presence, it’s an age-old tenet – address the problem before you search for a solution.

Abiker also touched on this messaging in his piece and we can’t help but find a correlation with what we do – breaking borders between customers and brands.

Breaking borders in communication

In customer communication, there are now multiple channels leading to a brand. Often there are too many, causing more chaos than is necessary. We forget that human beings exist behind all the data and that’s a major problem.

“Customers do not care about the extent of your “omni-ness.” They care about the quality of your service,” says Harvard Business Review. 

Improving the quality of service is achieved by listening to customers. It’s easy for service reps to have a disconnected relationship with their clients. Especially when it’s through chat and response time is slow or when agents are located in another country. By humanising the process and using technology to understand customers on a personal level, it’s easier to build a bridge over the gap and get the conversation going.

Much like how Anne bit through awkwardness with transparency, the same process can be applied to customer communication. Wade through the scripted conversations, chatbots and IVR. Walk right up to the elephant in the chat room.

Via: Harvard Business Review, David Abiker.