Service leads to sales if you know how to act and ask

August 9, 2009
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Every time a customer calls, it’s an opportunity. The only question is: How are you taking advantage of it?

Answer Hello! Not a thank you for the call, telling me how important it is while you put me on hold for the next available agent, or to “serve me better,” you ask me to select from among the following eight options.

Selecting from among the following eight options is not one of MY options — and I have the money, and you want the money and need the money. So wise up!

The last things to cut are sales, service and training. The first thing to cut is executive pay, then management pay, then eliminate middle management as needed. Or make them salespeople and have them contribute to the effort.

Meanwhile, customers need help, service and answers. Your ability to help customers in a timely manner and serve them memorably determines your reputation and your fate.

Here’s how to serve:

Start friendly no matter how they act or talk.

Get off your high (pc) horse.

Don’t worry about how you feel — worry about how they feel.

Ask them how you can help them the most.

Help them with whatever they need.

Don't tell them what you can't do; tell them what you can do.

Get them to agree that the solution you offer, or answer they need, is the one they are expecting and the one they are pleased with (not “satisfied” with).

Engage them personally during the conversation.

Make certain customers are happy as a result of the call.

Follow through on your promises with action and communication.

Here’s the secret to service success:

Keep it short — but get the info you need to help them.

If the customer is angry, keep it real short, but arrange a second call after the resolve. Tell them what will happen in their favor and tell them fast.

Follow up with the unexpected to set up a sale. I refer to it as: plus one.

E-mail thanks. Tell them how much you enjoyed talking to them and how much you appreciate their business.

E-mail them back their idea or suggestions.

E-mail them back their solution or your promise to repair.

Have a salesperson call after the situation is resolved.

Customer’s reality:

I don’t want to wait on the phone.

I especially don’t want to listen to your self-serving messages as I wait.

I don’t want to wait on the line.

I don’t want to be told no.

I don’t want excuses about why you can’t.

I don’t want to hear about your policy.

I don’t want to donate to your charities.

I want help, I want yes and I want it fast.

At the end of any transaction, that’s when the customer starts talking about you. They will say one of five things about what transpired: something great, something good, nothing, something bad, or something real bad. And whatever they say leads to the next sale — either at your place or your competition’s place.

Economic reality:

When business is down, it’s likely morale is down. Invest in attitude training for every member of the team first.

When business is down, the best way to get more sales is by creating more friendly and human interaction.

When business is down, the best way to gain loyalty from existing customers and get more sales (the surest path to survival and growth) is to make service improvements, not service cuts.

OK, so now that you know what to do, what are you going to do about it? What actions are you willing to take? What investment are you willing to make? Do you understand it’s all about customer loyalty (not satisfaction)? And keep in mind that no company ever cut its way to success.

Reality:

You cut your way to safety. You have to sell your way to success.

If you want to win in this or any economy, you must be ready to win — ready with the right attitude, the right information and the right service heart.

Are you ready?

Free Git-Bit: If you want some additional thoughts and philosophies about the attitude necessary for your entire company, go to www.gitomer.com and enter the word ATTITUDE in the GitBit box. Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail salesman@gitomer.com

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