“I have called your company five times across four weeks for a health-critical medical product. On the first call, we were told the product would be shipped that day. On the second call, we found out it had not been shipped. It was to be shipped that day (and it was), but it was sent to the wrong address. On the third call, we were assured it would be shipped right away to the correct address. On the fourth call, the representative told us it had been shipped, but there was no way to track the package or know for sure its status. It was never received. We are now out of the product and have an urgent medical need. Can you please send the package to the correct address via overnight delivery?”
Their answer: “No. We don’t expedite packages. You should receive it in 3-4 business days.”
Sales are foundational to success in any business. In fact, if there are no sales, there is no business. But foundational to sales is something equally, if not more important, and that is service.
Marketing has reached a point of frenzy where would-be consumers are bombarded from all angles by the fevered pitches of “buy now” and “but wait, there’s more!” Radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, podcasts, emails, social media, direct advertising, billboards, sporting events – marketing and advertising have taken over the online and offline worlds. It is estimated that Americans are exposed to somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads each day. And yet, companies are very often missing the easiest and most cost-effective marketing tool of all – service to their current customers.
How can a company increase sales, while also decreasing marketing spend?
Unless the company is a major player, capable of negotiating massive quantities of scale, today’s modern solution for sales lies in a very old-fashioned concept: relationship building. The tools may differ, but the concept of service is the same as it ever was.
How can your company build profitable relationships?
1. Get to know the four types of people.
When it comes to customer service, one size does not fit all. Some customers want details. Others find the details abrasive. They just want you to get to the point and solve their problem. Some prefer a personal chat when they contact you for help, while others are “strictly business.” A great customer service team will be trained to know the difference and adjust their communications accordingly. As such, each type of customer will feel valued in their own unique way.
2. Get to know the names of your people.
There was a time in history where, when a person walked into the store, the salesclerk greeted them by name.
When was the last time you visited a big box store and were greeted personally by name? The fact is, they don’t have to greet you by name. They have the power of scale, which is enough to draw you in to their business.
But if you are a small business owner and want to draw in customers, greeting them by name is a great way to do it.
3. Get to know the needs and preferences of your people.
The most successful realtors may not be the ones with the greatest sales pitch or the best ad copy. They are the ones who understand the value of learning the needs and preferences of their potential customers. As such, selling a house becomes a matter of matching needs and preferences with available properties. If the fit is right, the property will sell itself.
In any business, if you know your customers well and have a product or service that meets a need or preference, you often only need to make an introduction in order to make the sale. As such, the goal is not sales, but service. And great service sells.
4. Give your team the ability to serve your people.
There is one thing that could have turned the experience noted at the beginning of this article from bad to good – one action that could have restored trust. That action would have been for the employees to be authorized and care enough to “own” the solution within certain boundaries.
Owning the solution would mean the employee would follow up on each order to ensure it was delivered and to communicate with the customer regarding status. Owning a solution may also have included the ability to expedite a shipment in certain situations.
All a customer really wants (and especially in this era of automation) is to know that a person cares enough to partner with them to find a solution to their problems.
Customer service, marketing, and sales – critical components of an organization. Are your sales all they should be? It may be time to look beyond marketing…to service.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.