Bank of America lost me over a $3.40 dispute.This was a decade ago and I still believe, I was correct with the matter. Three-dollars and forty-cents. Seriously? Worth losing a customer for a lifetime? Think about this: While I may have just been a number there, the potential referral loss was more than huge.
For the record: Ive found the ultimate bank and ultimate banker who responds by email, voice, or text within minutes and monitors my account daily, offering value I wouldnt get anywhere else. (If you want the best banker and trusted advisor on the planet, just email me and Ill connect you). I guess I should be thanking the big bank for their poor service.
NOTE WELL: Service can make or break your sale, customer loyalty and referrals. This has ripple effects all the way to your bank account.
Here are a few ideas and recommendations for providing the best service before, during, and after the sale. And ensuring customer loyalty and (word-of-mouth and online) reputation.
- Have the attitude. A service attitude begins with your own positivity and happiness. Your positivity (or negativity) will have direct impact on your service and your sale.
- Love your company. When you love your company, you believe in your company, and that love and belief are transferred to your customer.
- Make sure training includes attitude BEFORE you take the job. Stop asking about vacations and start asking about how you can succeed.
- LOVE to serve. You and your people must LOVE to serve. When you love to serve, you think service first, and your actions come across genuine and authentic.
- Know your products like you know your name. Knowledge creates confidence. A customer can tell if their salesperson is confident or not. Know what you can do and what you cant do. Know how you and your products can best help your customer.
- Pay attention to detail: Pay attention to each and everything your client says and asks. Their word and gestures are hints to what theyre really hoping for and these clues will help you serve them better.
- Your future is dependent upon your present and your presence. Its dependent upon where you are right now and your ability to be there.
- COMMUNICATION. This is a constant that is needed during the entire relationship. Good communication will make a major difference.
- Listen without responding until you understand the customer. Take notes and actions based on what they say and what they need.
- Demonstrate your desire to serve through action. Weve already established you must love to serve. Now prove it, through your actions. Actions speak louder than words. Service actions speak louder than sales actions.
- Its the relationship, not the sale. Make this your motto and you will always make the right service action.
- After you listen to your customers needs, serve them better than they expect.
Ever eat sushi? The food presentation is often a work of art or better stated a work of wow! You ordered a roll or two, but you got taste candy and eye candy.
Surprise me. When you deliver it make your customers say, Wow!
- Follow up and follow through. If you promised something, make it happen. Follow up to make sure it all went well.
- Response time. Now that youve got the sale, dont slack on your response time. Respond fast and with help, always.
Mess up? Takes these steps to turn your service blunder into a sales WOW!
- LISTEN to the complaint. Let the customer express their total frustration before you comment.
- LOOK THEM IN THE EYE AND APOLOGIZE for the error and make sure the customer knows you understand the problem. If youre listening on the phone, make sure they know you are paying 100% attention.
- Respond IMMEDIATELY and prioritize making amends. Fixing a sale gone wrong will pay for itself.
- Take RESPONSIBILITY. Dont blame the factory, dont blame the project manager, just own it and move on. Deal with internal issues privately.
- THANK the customer for informing you of the problem. They just did you a favor by alerting you to something that may be a grossly overlooked company issue. Its much easier for them to leave silently, discontinue service, and write a horrible public review.
- FIX IT. Give the client exactly what they originally wanted. If that solution is unavailable, keep offering options until you find something agreeable.
- Go above and beyond to ensure the client feels you empathize with their inconvenience and, in some cases, financial loss. Do something thoughtful, unexpected, and memorable. This step is most often overlooked, but it is key to future success.
- Deal with internal issues that could cause a similar event in the future. Develop any needed protocol and shift responsibilities if necessary.
PERSONAL STORY: When I was in college, a clothing store that I had been loyal to, had some great sales staff and some not-so-great sales staff. I was ready to buy a shirt and asked if they had it in my size. The salesperson snipped at me that I should look at the racks (which I had already done). She gave me attitude about going to the back. Meanwhile, I had spent thousands of dollars there and could not believe how I was being treated. After a short argument (over a shirt!), I left and bought the exact same shirt someplace else.
When the regional manager called me a week later to apologize and let me know they had the shirt in my size (seriously?!), I let her know I worked hard for my money and luckily I get to spend it where I want her store no longer included – and that an apology a week later is too late.
- SPEED OF RESPONSE: Dont wait a week take care of the issue right away.
- TRAIN SERVICE AND ATTITUDE FIRST: When you hire someone, their actions reflect your company and your brand. Make sure theyre the type of people who create positive and memorable service.
2018 Jennifer Gluckow and Sales in a New York Minute