“Pragmatic Sales Psychology” short episode series, writing #6”
In Southernese,” It ain’t what you get, it’s what you keep that counts” is a very pragmatic statement when addressing the topic of retention. Maintenance agreements, repeat customers, referrals, trade-ins, trade-ups and upgrades are all very positive and desirable terms and experiences.
How many times after you have purchased something, have the seeds of doubt been sown by poor service after the sale? That old,”what have I gotten myself into?” feeling is not a good one. You purchase a car with FREE oil changes for life and when you go to book one the only available opening is on the second Tuesday of a week two months away. The state of servicing in this day and age where most large companies ship their service support phone calls to the Philippines or some distant shore is less than impressive; it’s downright underwhelming! As a consumer, these realities are a constant source of aggravation – just as the messed up order at Starbucks or your local favorite fast food joint are, BUT as a business person? As a business person, exceptional service, friendly attitudes, and efficient responses and solutions can place your company in a select category that has people referring and speaking highly of you. The landscape of ineptness is a field of opportunity for those businesses who can get their staff trained to deliver exceptional service.
The stark reality is that no matter the level salesmanship you or your sales staff possess, you are just as subject to losing your good graces with a customer as a server in a restaurant where the cook keeps getting it wrong and disappoints the diners, who provide the part of the revenue that they count on more than the paycheck they get. A great sales professional who falls prey to poor service on the backend will have very little reputation or referrals to cash in on. EVERYBODY (in every position) is a part of the sales department, EVERYBODY is a part of the marketing department because EVERYBODY affects the brand of the company in the consumer’s mind.
Here are some examples that can sabotage an exceptional servicing experience:
Apathy – acting like you barely care about the person you are talking to or your job. This is an all too often occurrence that doesn’t get policed well enough and provides the consumer population with an apathetic opinion of your company. Simply having an attitude (or lack thereof) doesn’t mean your people have a good one.
Sloppiness – comes in all manifestations from the landscaping, to the cleanliness of your public restrooms, to the organization of your inventory and knowledge or lack thereof of what you have and exactly where it is. Simply having a place of business doesn’t mean it is a place where people are comfortable being.
Poor Response Times – Nothing says “you aren’t all that important” to a prospect than a healthy lag time between when they engage and when you answer them. Responding “when you get around to it” does not speak to the timing of the prospect, which in most cases is VERY critical to them.
Poor Attention to Detail – No matter what your company sells, getting your consumer’s needs taken care of accurately has everything to do with retention and repeat business. By not listening well enough or getting the details of the arrangement correct, you are asking for a poor relationship with the person whose patronage you are counting on to make a living from. Buyer’s remorse is a real thing that can be caused by the buyer feeling like they aren’t getting exactly what they paid for.
The flip side of these areas of quicksand is the higher ground. That is the power that companies, who have all their employees and staff pulling in the same direction, have going for them and their success. Allow me to take these same categories and present them as areas of opportunity with which to out-perform your competition within a single run-on sentence. I’ll address them positively in order: If you are a company who knows exactly who you are and what you’re all about, and has a great attitude towards its customers, keeps itself clean and organized, plus responds in a timely manner with great attention to detail… well you are most likely building, or have built a successful business.
The value of exceptional service is the thing that defines your lasting value to the consumer population. It speaks positively to retention, growth, longevity and the very purpose of your company’s existence. Listen to how important these people think good service is:
Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get. – Nelson Boswell
The longer you wait, the harder it is to produce outstanding customer service. – William H. Davidow
People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou
So allow me to say “adios” by tying all of this back to the first statement of this article – if you’re more worried about retention than the next deal you get, it means that when you do indeed succeed at the next deal, you will be adding it to something of much greater value and substance.