Mister Sales opened a new door when another one was closed
In mid-March, almost every sector saw its sales collapse overnight, including telemarketing companies. Mister Sales refused to throw in the towel and built a completely new company, MisterChat.nu.
The NOW-regulation had barely started when the applications flooded in. But not from Mister Sales, that saw its turnover almost halve in one week. Founder and director Jan Pieter Vreeken saw this disruption as a signal to change course: “I am convinced that a new door opens much more easily if you close another one first. When Corona came knocking, I immediately thought: OK, what business ideas do we still have?
He saw the crisis as an opportunity. “My father used to say: when it’s dark outside, you have to put more light in the shop window. To determine exactly where that light should come from, Vreeken, together with the entire staff, organised a virtual crisis consultation on the question: how can we still intercept air bubbles for our customers in this new reality? “Everyone agreed that if there was any wind left anywhere, it was online. That’s how the idea was born to roll out chat.” This turned out to be a golden touch!
Next, the most important question was: can our current customer contact supplier guarantee this for us? “Technically, it was a piece of cake because Steam Connect already has this functionality. But the speed and volume we were creating proved to be a different challenge. They kept their promise to facilitate us as much as possible. They are currently even investing in new servers to secure our growth,” says Vreeken. “Such a short line of communication is very nice, because we didn’t have the time to delve into the technology ourselves. Codelogic just makes sure it works. I’m really proud of that.”
Works in almost any market
Based on the idea that ‘the world is your customer’, Mister Sales started calling customers with the question: shall we see if we can bring in new leads with chat? The goal was not to immediately bring in new contracts. “We just started on a ‘no cure no pay’ basis to see if it worked”, says Vreeken, still with a mix of excitement and disbelief in his voice. From the first day it went great. “We now handle chat for a very diverse range of customers in B-to-B and B-to-C. With each customer, we have determined on which website pages we can approach prospects specifically. For example, for a law firm, we used chat on the page with white papers. Only when people download content, they are approached. For a bridal shop, we seek contact with visitors much earlier in the customer journey. You shouldn’t impose yourself, but give prospects the chance to ask questions with no barriers at all.”
These chats are handled in Steam-connect by the ‘ChatMasters’, as MisterSales calls them. “These ‘ChatMasters’ do not give answers, but only ask questions with great empathy to find out where the customer needs are. The customer questions plus all contact details are forwarded to our client, who then calls the prospect back and helps them further. The result: a filled sales funnel with prospects that the client had not expected to receive.”
The reason it works so well is clear, according to Vreeken: “Customers who visit a website are looking for information. We help them find that information even faster. Compare it to a good shop assistant. He doesn’t wait for a customer to come to him with a question, but monitors customer behaviour and responds to a questioning look.”
The opening question a ChatMaster asks depends entirely on the market and the behaviour of a visitor. “The customer of a bridal shop has a different mindset than someone who is looking for a lawyer. Our employees adjust their conversation technique and tone-of-voice accordingly.” This is not difficult for them, says Vreeken. “They are used to this, because it is no different on the phone. What is new is that they now sometimes handle up to five or six chats simultaneously in Steam Connect. They therefore have to switch between different conversations. This is a new skill that we train them in. They also now have blisters on their fingers instead of their tongues,” laughs Vreeken.
Daniël Cools, CCO of Codelogic, emphasises that the handling of chat must match the competences of employees. “The core competence of the employees at Mister Sales is to look for the pain in customers. Whether you do that over the phone or via chat doesn’t really matter in the end.”
Vreeken says that switching between conversations is easier for some employees than others. “Some really excel at it. Others like it better on the phone and that is of course fine, because we still provide that service as well. Chat is a way for everyone to use their talent in a new way. And discovering new talents in yourself is, of course, the most fun.”
This gives Mister Sales a new kind of energy. Vreeken: “In the news, you only heard miserable reports. With us, however, I only saw happy faces and red cheeks from the hard work and the excitement that it worked. As if we were living in a parallel universe. It was such a great boost for our company to say together: we are turning this crisis into an opportunity for our company. The energy that is released when we succeed in doing so is fantastic. In a short time, we have not only achieved a great result for existing and new customers. We have also learned a great deal. With a broader range of services, our company is better prepared for the future. Perhaps that is the best result of all.