If it wasn’t for the darn customers, business would be easy. They are so demanding. You can also blame poor sales results on Wall Street, the administration and millennials. It might be time to stop the blame game and take a tour of your company to see if you are creating raving fans or clients that are raving mad.
Case in point. A colleague of mine purchased a computer earlier this year and within a week the infamous blue screen showed up. The computer shut down and she had to return it. The company actually handled the return fairly well. They took back the computer and even allowed her to pick out another computer because she didn't trust buying the same model. Six months later Murphy's Law hit and her second computer from this retailer blew up.
For some reason, this broken computer was handled much differently. She received a cheery voicemail saying that her computer needed to be send back to the manufacturer because it didn't work. (Duh) And it would take about seven to ten days to diagnose, fix and return. My colleague had purchased the $300 warranty---to prevent this type of hassle.
Let's ask few common sense questions around this scenario:
- Who can afford to be without their business computer seven to ten days?
- How smart is it to leave this type of information on voicemail? It's kind of like a doctor leaving a message that the test results aren’t good and an operation is in order.
- And maybe, just maybe, wouldn't it make sense to jump through hoops to keep this client satisfied because it was her second computer blow-up in six months?
My colleague did what most people unfortunately have to do to get the service she paid for. She got upset, pushy and finally got a good customer service person that scored high in emotional intelligence. She was empathetic, listened and provided the right solution. (http://www.salesleadershipdevelopment.com/what-your-sales-eq) She saved my colleague as a client.
Companies focus on winning business each year in order to grow revenues. It's great to have business coming in the front door. Just make sure customers aren't turning around and going out the back door.
Here are two things to examine and do to retain and grow sales.
#1. Secret shop your own company. Document everything from the first point of contact with your company. How friendly is the person answering the phone or...is no one answering the phone? How are prospects and clients greeted when they walk into your office? Are they greeted by name or do they feel like they are interrupting the business managers work day?
What's the sales process like from the prospect’s perspective? Is your sales team consultative or still using outdated trial closes? “So Mr. Customer, wouldn’t you agree that our product could…..” Or equally bad is the proverbial product dump. This is where your salesperson goes into a canned presentation and product dump after the poor prospect asks, “Can you tell me more about your company?”
How do you deal with returns, billing issues and service after the sale? Remember, not every customer gets upset and complains. Many just go away and you never learn why or how you lost their business. Janelle Barlow, an expert in the customer service world has a great quote. "Complaints are a gift." Secret shop to identify and prevent complaints.
#2. Duplicate companies that create a great client experience. Zappos, the on-line shoe company, grew to one billion dollars in ten years. They are known for providing great customer service. Their focus: create a WOW factor for their clients. Order shoes from them, even if you don’t need any, just to experience this WOW factor.
For example, your first shipment arrives overnight, at no extra charge. WOW! If you return all nine pairs of shoes, there is no lie detector test asking you if you wore the shoes. They apply the common sense rule. If a customer is shopping on line, he or she doesn’t have the time or desire to shop in a crowded mall.
Zappo’s also gives their customer one year to return shoes. They know their customers are busy and sometimes don’t get returns processed in 30 days. Remember a not so friendly company called Blockbuster? Yeah, those late fees on movies served them well.
Are you losing customers because of your 'ten day policies?' Secret shop your own company. Apply common sense and create a great client experience. Keep sales coming in the front door and not out the back door.