The most successful companies place great
value on developing lifetime relationships with their customers. In
today's competitive marketplace, they're aware that their customers
are aggressively prospected and their loyalty cannot be taken for
granted. Customer focused companies recognize that relationship
building and follow on service are critical components for promoting
both customer retention and revenue growth.
Build a Relationship: Today we have access to innovative tools
such as the Internet, cell phones, faxes and voice mail all designed
to enhance our ability to communicate. Nevertheless, even with all of
these technological tools at our disposal, the alarming number of
dissatisfied customers, lost sales and failed relationships all
reflect the fact that none of us are as effective at communicating as
we would like to believe.
Temperament understanding helps to foster
effective communication. Research in the field of human psychology
indicates people are born into one of four primary behavioral styles;
aggressive, expressive, passive or analytical. Each of these four
temperament styles requires a unique approach and communication
strategy. For example, if you are working with the impatient,
aggressive style, they want a quick fix and a bottom line solution.
Under pressure they can be ill-tempered and
quick to anger. Give them options so you don't threaten their need for
control. Don't waste their time with chitchat, stick to business.
While at the other extreme, the stress-prone analytical style requires
more information and is interested in every detail. Their cautious and
analytical nature makes them susceptible to buyer's remorse. Be
sensitive to their need for reassurance and guarantees. Once you learn
how to identify each of the four primary behavioral styles you will be
able to work more effectively with all of your customers.
Effectively: Recognize the importance of nonverbal communication
and learn to ?listen with your eyes.? It might surprise you to know
that research indicates over 70 percent of our communication is
perceived nonverbally. In fact, studies show that body language has a
much greater impact and reliability than the spoken word.
Create a favorable first impression and build
rapport quickly by using open body language. In addition to smiling
and making good eye contact, you should show the palms of your hands,
keep your arms unfolded and your legs uncrossed. You can develop
harmony by “matching and mirroring” your customer's body language
gestures. Matching and mirroring is unconscious mimicry. It's a way of
subconsciously telling another that you like them and agree with them.
Improve your active listening skills. To
develop and encourage conversation, use open-ended questions to probe
the meaning behind your prospect's statements. Occasionally repeat
your prospect's words verbatim. By restating his or her key words or
phrases you not only clarify communication, but also build rapport.
Keep your attention focused on what your customer is saying and avoid
the temptation to interrupt, argue or dominate the conversation.
Things Make a Big Difference: Rendering quality customer service
is both a responsibility and an opportunity. Often salespeople view
customer service as an administrative burden that takes them away from
making a sale. The truth is that customer service provides
opportunities for cross-selling, up selling and generating quality
Customers describe quality customer service in
terms of attention to detail and responsiveness. Customer satisfaction
surveys consistently point to the fact that the little things make a
big difference. Not surprisingly, the top two customer complaints with
regards to customer service are unreturned phone calls and a failure
to keep promises and commitments. Make an effort to see yourself
through your customers' eyes. True customer service is meeting and
surpassing your customers' expectations.
Successful salespeople “go the extra mile”
when providing service and turn the customers they serve into
advocates to help them promote their business. Your referrals and
follow on business are in direct proportion to the quality and
quantity of service you render on a daily basis. Want more referrals?
Improve your service!
Here are five powerful customer service tips.
Under-promise and over-deliver. Develop a
reputation for reliability; never make a promise that you can't keep.
Your word is your bond.
Pay attention to the small things. Get in
the habit of returning phone calls, e-mails and other correspondence
quickly. Follow up, follow up, follow up.
Stay in contact and keep good records. Take
the time to jot down notes from meetings and phone calls making
certain to record all relevant information. Maintain a written record
of service. This is especially helpful when clients are reassigned to
a new sales rep. Setup a suspense system to track important contact
dates such as client review calls and birthdays. Consider sending a
personal note or an article of interest every six months.
Give your customers a promotional gift.
Consider sending them a letter opener, coffee mug or a calendar with
your picture and contact information.
Establish a feedback system to monitor how
your customers perceive the quality and quantity of the service you
provide. Service is not defined by what you think it is, but rather
how your customers perceive its value. When it comes to customer
service, perception is reality.
Progressive companies emphasize commitment to
customer service from the top down by establishing training standards
and continuously monitoring customer satisfaction. Companies that fail
to implement an effective customer service program actually do a
disservice to their customers and unknowingly, leave the backdoor open
to their competitors. If you do it right, sales and service blend
seamlessly and you will exceed your customers' expectations!
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about John Boe.
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