This was the case last Sunday when my wife and I thought it was important to buy a phone to ease communication between the person taking care of our shamba. A Good Samaritan ushered us to a shop selling different kind of phones. Unfortunately, my wife preferred a specific brand that was not in the shop. I requested the shop keeper to suggest for us a brand that was more or less the same as the brand requested by my wife. The response we received is not worth sharing here. We ended up buying a phone from a different vendor!
A few years back, when the Uganda Communication Commission asked us to migrate from analogue to digital television, my wife and I went to buy a digital television (DTB) from one of the leading provider. Knowing my terrain well, I asked the agent to inquire what would happen if the outdoor antennae which I was given will not be able to provide the signals. The response was “that is your problem” From that time till now, I have had a serious bias towards the service provided by that particular service provider.
As a person working in the service industry, I felt compelled to share a few tip that will make us succeed as sales person especially in this competitive business environment.
1. Make your customers feel welcome
It should be a routine part of the business to make your customers feel welcome, but some businesses have challenges in this area. Making your customers feel welcome fulfills a basic human need, and it is important at every point of contact; whether it is in person, on the phone, or with email. It sets the stage for everything to come with the customer relationship.
In most cases we employ other people to do work on our behalf. It is therefore important to hire good employees who have a servant’s heart, are naturally friendly and like to serve others. This is a quality that you have to look for in employees as it's hard to teach. Also, reinforce to employees on a regular basis how important it is to make every customer feel welcome. Remember to model the behavior you want your employees to imitate. When we as customers encounter a business that makes us feel welcome, we cannot help but walk away with a good feeling. Most of us have heard the saying “people do business with people they like.” Employees who are friendly and helpful and who take care of customers’ needs are well-liked, even loved!
2. Employee knowledge of products and services
Product knowledge is essential because your good employees want to feel competent in their ability to serve the customer. Not only to make customers feel welcome but to be able to help customers with their need or problem. Formal and on-the-job training is how this is accomplished. For new employees, consider using the buddy system where new people work closely with an experienced person.
3. Be responsive and communicate
Train employees to do what they say they are going to do and do it on time. If things get delayed for some reason, train employees to contact the customer and inform them of the reason for the delay.
4. The lifetime value of a customer
Know the important concept of the lifetime value of a customer. Calculate the amount of money a typical long-term customer will spend in their “lifetime.” The number will surprise you, and this will change how you view, and serve customers. You will see the importance of turning new customers into long-term ones.
5. Empower employees
Enable your employees to solve customer problems. After proper training, give them the latitude within reason to take care of the questions, problems, and situations that come up in every business day. If you have hired good people and trained them well, they will strive to do the right thing.
At the end of the day, the only important measure of a satisfied customer is this: would your customer recommend your business to their friends and family? Having better customer services skills in all levels of your organization will help ensure positive recommendations.