You´ve got a cell phone, a computer, a Web site, a toll free telephone number, all geared to help you stay in touch with your customers. But when you meet a customer in person for the first time, what´s your most important tool? Is it your Blackberry? Is it your laptop?What about your business card?
If you walk into a customer´s business where there is a receptionist present, do you present the receptionist with an extra business card? When that person is busy, she may forget your name and wind up needlessly embarrassing herself by forgetting your name. My first sales manager taught me to introduce myself and my company as opposed to saying, "I´m here to see Ms. So and So." Rather you should say, "Hello, I am Glenn Ross with the American Cancer Society. I have a 10:00 appointment with Ms.______." As you say this, hand her a business card and let her keep it. Then, if it takes her several minutes before she can contact her boss, your name and that of your company will be in front of her. After you leave, the receptionist´s boss may ask her what she thinks of you. Her opinion could influence your relationship with that boss.
Recently, I had an air conditioning person come out to check my home´s HVAC units. He introduced himself, listened to my concerns, then spent more than an hour working to resolve the problem. Only when he was writing up the invoice did he offer me his business card. Present your business card when you introduce yourself. Like many people, I forgot the worker´s name two minutes after he introduced himself. Had he given me his card, I could have addressed him by name and he would have had an opportunity to further the relationship between his company and me.
It´s these little things that enhance the customer service experience and start it moving in the right direction. What´s the cost for 200 business cards–ten dollars or less? Stash them in your briefcase, purse, wallet, glove compartment and anywhere else you can get to in a hurry if you run out. If you have an administrative assistant, he or she should have business cards as well and you should have a supply of those with you as well. "If I´m not in, feel free to ask for George, he´s my assistant."
Bottom line: getting the relationship off on the right foot is crucial. Don´t overlook your business card, no matter how many gadgets you have. When correctly used, it enhances your professionalism. That contributes to the customer service experience.
Blatant Plug Department: You´re reading this blog because David, a co-worker of mine, got me interested in blogging and showed me how to apply it to my work. He´s got a blog, Portable Gaming World, and if you´re interested in portable electronic games and gear, check it out. He wants me to remind you to feel free to click on his ads as well (smile).
Lagniappe Speaking of portable devices, Continental Airlines is offering five free iTunes downloads when you by a non refundable ticket between now and July 31