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It?s that time of year again when we all give thanks for the great country in which we live and all the things we often appreciate, but sometimes take for granted. When our power is off, it?s a major inconvenience. If our vehicles are stranded we lose our mobility. If our refrigerator is broken we scramble for a way to keep our food from spoiling. And, heaven forbid, if our cell phones go out of service many of us can be totally lost. Have you ever asked what practices your customers miss the most?
The first thing that customers miss the most is not being greeted by a friendly, concerned, and knowledgeable person when they make contact with a business. That first contact many times helps the customer make their purchasing decision. Can I reach a human being and can they help me with my problem? If you are like me you have names of specific people at many of your business partners who take the time and have the knowledge necessary to help you solve your product or service issue. If they can?t help you they will get someone who can. I am very thankful for these important customer service people and really miss them when they disappear for one reason or another.
I also miss it when the proactive communications that it takes to do relatively simple things, like calling me back when necessary, keeping me posted on any updates, sending me confirmations on appointments or agreements, keeping me updated on repair status, and thanking me for my business seem to vanish. With the existence of the Internet, voicemail, and cell phones we are available 24/7 and it is now much easier to keep a customer notified. These communication efforts take time but are truly appreciated by customers. Companies with strong communication skills are truly appreciated and recognized for this very basic discipline that is many times ignored in lieu of getting on to the next piece of business.
And doesn?t everyone miss sales or service personnel who really know their stuff? Is the technician up to speed on what they are doing? Can the technician or salesperson get support on the spot if needed? Once again, in this time of smart phones and instant communications the sales, service, and support people should admit that they need some help and then know where to get it. It?s great to have product skills and knowledge but we can?t know it all. I appreciate the person who does everything possible to honor my time and get the job done right now, if at all possible.
Last, but certainly not least, I miss the individuals who can help me with a post-sale or service issue. Are they available, are they knowledgeable, can they make a decision, and will they call me back? Some feel that once the work is done it is ?on to the next job or sale?. Post-sale treatment is one of the big customer concerns that leave a lasting positive or negative image of your company. Caring as much about your satisfaction after the sale as they did before the sale is the kind of company that many others, and I, are always trying to find.
Thank you to all of the companies that pay attention to the customer before, during, and after the sale. These may seem like small things to a business but they are big things to your customers. You may sell many products or services in a week?s time - but please remember that your customer is judging you on the ONE transaction you have with them. May we all be thankful for our customers? business and the goodwill that they can spread on our behalf.
Author: Don Pierson, President