This blog is primarily for merchant services sales reps, but every so often I like to share a thought that is more philosophical that has helped me....
2 Keys to Amazing Customer Service
Even if part of a large company, most sales people must spend at least a minimal amount of time in customer service mode. Although your sale process may be complete, the customer service department and operations depend on you because you started the relationship. Most sales people hurt themselves because they have a difficult time […]
Even if part of a large company, most sales people must spend at least a minimal amount of time in customer service mode. Although your sale process may be complete, the customer service department and operations depend on you because you started the relationship. Most sales people hurt themselves because they have a difficult time switching from sales to the customer service mode. In my observation, sales people who don’t provide a good customer service experience ironically find themselves spending half their day on customer service! Therefore, every sales person should recognize these two keys to providing an amazing customer service experience which will expedite your time spent on customer service:
FIRST KEY: HONEST EXPECTATIONS. This simply means rather than telling your customers what they WANT to hear, you tell them what you can actually DO for them. When your customers come to you with complaints, you must not make rash promises to fulfill all their requests. Take a moment to think. You could respond, “Let’s think about what I can actually do for you.” You must give them an honest expectation. Most often a customer is angry because he or she did not receive the expected action. If you tell customers, “this is what I can do for you,” they will usually be happy – as long as you GET IT DONE!
Realize that customers are making demands by way of negotiating a satisfactory solution to their problem. They will often make unrealistic requests as a starting point. They know they won’t get what they want, but they will start with unrealistic requests and hope to compromise to an acceptable solution. Perhaps your customer will say, “I want you to come out here every morning for two weeks by nine o’clock and stay for an hour to make sure this credit card machine is working.” The sales person who is zealous to close the deal may respond, “Okay, I’ll do that as long as you sign here.” However, you know this is totally unrealistic, and you are not actually going to follow through. You must give the customers honest expectations in order to deliver good customer service experience. A better response would be, “I’m sorry I can’t do that for you. But here is what I CAN do…”
SECOND KEY: Focus on the solution to their problem. After giving customers an honest expectation, your objective is to actually GIVE them the solution you promised! Too often sales people are overly concerned about the customers’ emotional response – do they like me? do they feel good about this sale process? However, customers won’t feel good if you faithfully email them every day to give your really good excuses why you haven’t fixed the problem. Customers will feel very good and like you immensely if you do what you promised to do! Fix the problem!
Personally, I may not respond to the customer for several days after our initial meeting until I can email or call to say the problem is solved as I promised. I might say, “Sorry I didn’t get back to you. I was busy with other things. But I did do X,Y, and Z, which is what I said I would do.” That customer will be perfectly happy! In my experience, the customer prefers this scenario rather than a quick response from the sales person who says, “I wasn’t able to get to that today.”
In summary, the first key is to tell the customers what you can actually do for them, even if they want you to do something else. If that means you lose the account, then you lose the account. To lose the account right now is better than lying to the customer and dragging him or her along for three or four months, only to lose the account later anyway after the customer is really ticked. Be honest; give honest expectations. Then the second key concerns your focus. Main focus is not on making them feel good about the process of fixing the problem; your focus is about fixing the problem. Get it done. The next morning when you wake up, the first thing is get it done. THEN contact them and say, “Hey, I did what I said I was going to do.”
Believe me, if you do those two things, your customers are going to love you.
My name is James Shepherd. Thanks for reading!
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