There are three keys to tapping into the link between service and sales – technical prowess, hospitality, and the wow factor. If you’re able to get your organization to focus on these three elements of service delivery, you can expect outstanding results.
Today’s post is by Donna Cutting, author of 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers (CLICK HERE to get your copy).
The character Don Draper in the television show Mad Men once said something to the effect of, “The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them.” While Mr. Draper is a fictional character, his words couldn’t be truer.
A study by Harris Interactive in 2011 determined that 89 percent of consumers quit doing business with a company (and went to a competitor) because of a bad customer experience. Compare this to 59 percent in 2007 and you’ll see that one of two things is happening. Either customer service has gotten worse; or consumers are becoming empowered. Perhaps both are true.
Your customers have more choices and louder voices than ever before. It probably won’t shock you that, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs report, news of a bad customer experience reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a positive one.
However, take heart! The good news is that 55 percent of consumers are willing to recommend a company due to outstanding service over product or price. (source: Consumer Impact Report by Harris Interactive/Right Now, 2010.)
There is a direct link between sales and service. The real sale is made after you earn the customer. Once you get them in the door, it’s time for you to decide. Is it uphill or downhill from there?
There are three specific areas of customer service you’ll want to pay attention to: Technical, Hospitality and WOW!
The Technical Side to Service
This is about “what” you do. You must start with the right infrastructure to be able to deliver your product and service as people expect. In other words, if you own a restaurant, people expect the food to be delicious and hot. If you sell a product, you customers expect it to work correctly and be delivered as promised. If you run a hotel, your guests want a seamless checkout experience, a clean room, etc.
You’ve first got to nail the basics of delivering your product and service. Arming your team with product knowledge so they can better assist customers is part of this as well.
The problem is, this is what people expect of you. According to Ed Eynon, VP and Chief Human Resources Officer for KSL Resorts, you won’t win any points for the technical side of service, but you will lose points (and customers) if you are consistently get it wrong.
The Hospitality Style of Service
This is about “how” you deliver service. Are you and your team warm and welcoming? When people arrive, are you smiling? Do you call them by name?
This is the side of service that makes your customers want to do business with you and bring friends. To achieve it, train your entire team to:
– Make eye contact with guests
– Learn and use the customer’s name
– Escort to a location instead of pointing
– Be gracious about customer complaints
– Thank the customer
– Invite them to come back
Both the technical and hospitality sides of service are important to the customer experience. However, the hospitality side is where you will win points with your customers. If you have the technical piece down 99% of the time, a warm, hospitable staff will ensure your customers forgive you for the 1% of the time something fails.
Says Eynon, “When push comes to shove, hospitality trumps technical!”
Only when you’ve nailed the first two aspects of service should you move into the next one.
The WOW Factor
Create a system to surprise and delight your customers, and you’ll turn happy customers into advocates for your company. In other words, your customers become an integral part of your sales force because they can’t stop talking about you.
Create customer WOW by going above and beyond in unexpected ways and by personalizing their experience. For instance, Rick Salmeron of Salmeron Financial sent scoops of ice cream to 120 of his customers during a hot summer day. Mitch Goldstone of ScanMyPhotos.com randomly sends bouquets of flowers to his customers. When you become a new resident of Mather LifeWays Retirement Community, you are treated to a personalized welcome sign and a champagne toast.
These are memorable moments that get people spreading the good news about your company.
Pay attention to all three aspects of the customer experience and you’ll soon find you’re tapping into the link between sales and service.
– Donna Cutting is the author of 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers: Easy-to-Implement Ideas to Inspire Loyalty, Get New Customers and Leave a Lasting Impression (CLICK HERE to get your copy). She can be reached via her website at www.Redcarpetlearning.com.
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