Assuring Customer Satisfaction
by Dr. Tony Alessandra
"Those who enter to buy, support me. Those who come to flatter, please me. Those who complain, teach me how I may please others so that more will come. Only those who hurt me are displeased but do not complain. They refuse me permission to correct my errors and thus improve my service." - Marshall Field.
The attitude of the professional is summed up in this statement. It establishes the customer as the person to whom you are responsible. Customers support you; therefore, they deserve VIP treatment.
When your customers are happy, you are happy. When they complain, you are unhappy, but you examine the complaint calmly and see it as an opportunity to learn as well as satisfy their needs. The quote echoes the fear that customers will not vocalize their dissatisfaction, but instead take their business elsewhere.
There's another quote that's even more important to salespeople and companies immediately upon making a sale-- "The Sale Begins When the Customer Says...Yes."
In the old days, It used to be, "The Sale Begins When the Customer Says...NO," but that's a totally Inappropriate attitude to embrace in today's customer-driven business environment.
Keeping Your Customers Happy
Since your first concern is customer satisfaction you should be aware of some emotional stumbling blocks in your path: selective perception, user error and buyer's remorse.
Selective perception is the process in which a person sees only selected details from the entire picture. This attention to detail is sometimes petty. For example, a customer may have a new copying machine that works like a charm, but he is irritated by the sound of the motor. He focuses only on what is wrong rather than what is right.
This occurs because buyers expect their purchases to be perfect. Regardless of the purchase price, they figure that for what they spent, they deserve perfection. When you encounter someone who practices selective perception, evaluate the situation to determine if the complaint is reasonable or exaggerated.
If it is exaggerated, try to resolve the problem by pointing out benefits and features that compensate. Put the negative detail in a different perspective for your client so that it becomes one small part of the total picture.
Many sales involve the installation of a new system or piece of equipment, and the buyer or their employees must be trained to use it. Their successful use of the equipment depends upon the effectiveness of the training, and it is imperative that the salesperson follows through after the training period to make sure the client uses the purchase properly.
It is not uncommon for people to forget 75 percent of what they hear after two days. This can cause "user error", which will significantly affect the outcome of your test and may prevent your client from reaching his success criteria.
Often a client will be unhappy about a purchase and not realize that it is due to improper operation. The more complex something is, the more training it requires to use it properly. In the interest of implementing the product quickly, users may settle for incomplete training or become sloppy in their application of good training. In any case, look for user error whenever a success criterion is not reached.
"Buyer's remorse" refers to the regret that a buyer feels after making a purchase. It could be caused by selective perception, user error, or the client's error. Whatever the reason, the full benefits of the product are not realized.
Buyer's remorse can also be caused by the economics of the purchase: until the benefits prove themselves to be cost effective, a buyer regrets having made the purchase. It is the responsibility of the salesperson to assuage these fears by assuring the client that his investment is wise and sound. Reiterate some of the selling points that convinced him to buy it originally, present data, and put him at ease.
Handling Customer Complaints
Whether your customer's complaint is legitimate or not, follow it up with a service call. Whenever possible, do it personally instead of sending someone from the customer service department. It provides the personal service that your customer appreciates and it may obviate the need for a technician or serviceman to call. As an alternative, both of you can go together to handle customer complaints. Keep the following guidelines in mind:
The philosophy behind maintaining your customers is simple; now that you have them, maintain them. When you consider the amount of time and money invested in them, you cannot afford to lose them. This investment goes beyond your personal expenditures. It also includes your firm's advertising and marketing costs to reach that particular market segment. Your customers, therefore, should be treated as if the life of your business depended on them - which it does!
15 Ways To Keep Your Customer Satisfied
Copyright Dr. Tony Alessandra. All Rights Reserved.
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