On Customer Service

Customer service isn’t enough anymore. The times have changed. The customers have changed. The minimum goal now is customer care.

The drive for quality started it. As customers’ dollars shrank during the recession, customers started asking a lot more questions. They would stand there reading the fine print on warranties. They would come back at you with blunt questions about financing plans. They might buy, but they couldn’t be sold, at least not as readily.

Selling in this environment requires more than just knowing your product, and believing in it and your services enough to project yourself with confidence. Selling has become customer-centered, not product-centered. The minimum goal is, clearly, Exceed the Customer’s Expectation Every Time.

Twenty-seven percent of American companies already use some measure of customer satisfaction in their sales-incentive programs. Another twenty-three percent are weighing which measure to add. At some companies, as much as forty percent of the salespeople’s commissions are determined by assessment of customer satisfaction. Some companies are becoming as blunt as the customers became: They ask their major customers to grade their account reps from “A” to “F.” Reps expecting an “A” had better reach out with the goal of customer care.

Clearly, no longer is the question simply: Did you make the sale? The more telling question is: Will we have this customer next time?

… Here’s the key thing: Customers don’t care how much you know about your product until they know how much you care about them.

Contact Dr. Jim Tunney

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