As technology advancements in e-commerce, automated telephone menus, e-mails, PDAs, instant messaging and cell-phones have made us more “reachable” somewhere we have lost touch with the customer.
Service Oriented businesses have got lazy. Today a few lucky people still have relationships with their bank manager, insurance broker, and other service organizations they interact with. The majority have a relationship with their bank machine or an on-line web form.
I’m a Project Manager by trade, but was lucky to have the experience in Customer Service/Sales early on in my career. Recently while going about my job, I get a call from a Customer. Goodness knows, with all our technology advancements, how the customer got to me, but they did. And they are talking about a product we no longer support, Yikes! Now what?
Ever happened to you? Ever been the person calling in and got the wrong person or department? Ever heard “Sorry can’t help you not my department”, Click.
This lack of supporting the customer makes your customers fickle. If they can get it cheaper, faster, and easier somewhere else they will jump ship. Why? Why not? Your customers are just a number in your organization, there are little to no relationships built, so why would the customer want to be loyal to your organization?
Well I put on my “Customer Service Hat”, asked the customer to hold, asked around, and broke the bad news. It didn’t end there. I popped on my “Sales Hat” and walked the customer through our current products. That’s right 5 min out of my day, and the customer thanked me and asked me to send along product praise for the discontinued product. And yes I passed it along, why? I popped back into Customer Service mode, for my internal customers.
So let’s throw technology out the door, hire loads of people, and drive up operational costs – no, that’s not what I am saying. As we go more and more hi-tech we need to remain hi-touch.
As part of your organizations culture teach your staff:
1. How to answer a phone
2. How to shake hands
3. That everyone is a potential customer
4. That selling is not calling someone out of the blue
5. That relationships are key in an ever impersonal world
Five simple steps and you’ll be amazed at the results in your business, in customer loyalty. I know I’ll look forward to being your customer.
About the Author
Michelle McKinnon is a passionate leader who cares deeply about helping customers, businesses and individuals achieve success. Her focus is to maximize clients’ return on investment while carefully planning and managing change.