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They Ask You Answer: Filling A Power Vacuum

When the main players don’t shape the narrative, it might be up to you.

Power Vacuum - Business
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When Johnson Controls acquired Richmond Alarm Company (RAC) last year, they decided to keep their residential customer accounts while at the same time ceasing new sales and upgrades. What they didn’t do, however, was communicate with RAC customers proactively, leading them to start scouring the Web for any information they could find about their accounts.

Here’s what Twitter had to say:

Power Vacuum – Business - Twiiter

Needless to say, this 2-year-old tweet didn’t exactly inspire confidence in RAC clientele and we began receiving a deluge of phone calls at my company, Livewire. Our team began reacting as best we could. After a few days, however, it became clear that this was the tip of the iceberg and maybe we should write the FAQ document that Johnson Controls didn’t. Channeling Marcus Sheridan and his book They Ask You Answer, we authored a landing page in an attempt to answer many common customer questions based on off-the-record conversations we’d had with Richmond Alarm Company personnel. As a result, we’re now channeling search traffic to our site and giving them options (including a list of local competitors) should they decide to move their account or sign up for new services.

Also byHenry Clifford: They Ask You Answer: “Are your cameras hackable?”

We have to be careful. If all RAC’s customers call in simultaneously, it could kill us. We can’t service hundreds or thousands of inquiries all at once. By dripping concerned clients searching for alternatives with search ads, emails, flyers, and relevant articles, we hope to manage the demand so we can continue to deliver amazing service.

Whenever there’s a vacuum, something’s going to fill it. Instead of letting rumor and speculation run rampant, sending our sales team into a tailspin, we decided to shape the narrative so we could get back to a proactive posture, ensuring we’re in the best position to take good care of our existing and new customers.

Also by Henry Clifford: Are You Employee-Centric or Customer-Centric?

What will you do the next time a power vacuum opens up in your market?

Stay frosty, and see you in the field.

Henry Clifford is president of Livewire, an integration firm in Richmond, VA. He also serves on the CEDIA Business Working Group and writes a bi-monthly blog for Residential Systems.