The last time you were a consumer (yesterday or last week), what was your experience? Was is positive and memorable, or was is poor, negative, and memorable in a different way?
Too often, a salesperson makes the sale – hands it over to an account manager, then moves on. One day they want a reference, and show up or call down the road – and whatever has happened with the servicing of their account is news to the sales rep, because they have been out of touch. In a smaller business, we make the sale, provide the service or product, then never thank the buyer, nor follow up – until we need something.
Here are ideas that can help you offer greater value – or at least to get a conversation started at your office about it:
1. Have a bold guarantee – you must be completely satisfied or we’ll….. (fill in the blank). My offer to clients is that if they are not 100% satisfied, we’ll work with them until we make it right, or we refund their money.
2. Have a stake in the outcome – let your client know in advance – even before the opportunity comes to closure – that you want them to be so pleased with your offerings that when you ask them for an endorsement, they’ll be thrilled to give you one. Now you’ve set the bar high – and you stand out among a mediocre world.
3. Have an idea of what the prospective customer really wanted in the first place. People buy services and products because they want answers of some sort – to look good in others’ eyes, to be promoted, to help them reduce time and worry at work. Make sure you’ve drilled down deep to understand what your buyer really wants. I bet that it isn’t your product or service – it is what the result of using the product or service is.
The best way to continually learn about customer service is to continue to be a consumer. After every interaction, give people constructive feedback – and help younger people (and older ones too) better understand what total quality and exceeding expectations really mean.
Then think about how you can offer 20 times the value, and do that.