You don’t have to be a big business, manufacturer or even a for-profit venture to have customers. Customers are those folks who we serve with our product or service. In the world of business, they are the boss, so to speak, and customer satisfaction is key.
Nobody wants to intentionally irritate their boss, and yet we do. Here’s an example.
I have a Mustang. It’s a Ford, and I have to tell you it took me about 30 years to get over the last Ford I owned. Nevertheless, in 2010, I needed a new car and I found myself on the floor of a Ford showroom. I drove off the lot in the 2010 version of the car I learned to drive back in 1965. I know, just another tragic old man trying to recapture his long-lost youth.
I have to say, my experience with Ford and their customer satisfaction has been quite positive. The Mustang is exceptionally well made, full of innovation and built with care and quality. The customer satisfaction service I have received has been as good as or better than any of the cars I’ve owned during my life.
But, there is one thing they do that just annoys me to no end. Every time I take the car in for an oil change, within three days, I receive a half-price coupon for an oil change. It’s only good for thirty days! What are they thinking?
I know this isn’t intentional, and I know the guys up in Dearborn are not sitting around the break room laughing and crowing about, “well Lou must have gotten his COUPON (wink-wink, nod-nod) today.” But, considering this is a program designed to show appreciation to a loyal customer, you have to wonder why someone hasn’t figured out this worthless coupon is having the opposite effect.
Another example is the after-service call that inevitably comes from nearly every plumber, electrician and groundskeeper that you might happen to contract with. I really don’t have time to explain how much better life is now that Reggie cleared our basement drain.
If it were just limited to asking if the job was completed to my satisfaction, I could live with it. But, no, we have get into the “what did you like best about Reggie’s use of the Roto-Rooter?” Or, “what could Reggie have done better with his Roto-Rooter?” . . . You really don’t want me to answer that.
I know they mean well and want to provide great customer satisfaction, but here’s a clue: save your money, plumbers; get the job done quickly; charge a fair price; and be polite. That’s all you need to do.
Now, if you are Ford or any large enterprise, there are things you can do, as well, starting with the initial sales cycle.
Qualify Sales Prospects
When you are calling on prospects, qualify them. What are their job titles? What business is the company in? Are they too big, too small or just right?
Your CRM system should have the ability to help you identify your audience by defining your demographic sweet spot. If you are trying to sell a Finance guy a new type of shop broom, believe me, the guy isn’t going to hear you say anything after the word “broom.” Don’t continue talking; don’t send a follow-up email; and don’t try again next month.
Fulfill Customers’ Expectations
Once you get the chance to talk about your product and you have confirmed there is interest, make sure you fulfill your prospect’s expectation. If the prospect wants to talk to another customer, set him or her up. If he or she wants literature, provide it. When it’s time to respond to an RFP or RFI, be as complete and honest as possible. If you happen to employ a guided-selling tool, it can handle a lot of the heavy lifting as far as responding to these requests.
Manage Special Contract Provisions
As your relationship moves beyond the actual selling/buying event, be sure you are aware of any special contract provisions. It is especially important to anticipate any special requirements promised in the contract. Don’t make customers repeatedly remind, cajole, yell and scream that you have to do this or that in order to make them happy.
Most modern ERP systems include some provision for contract management. It keeps the company honest, and it keeps the customer satisfied.
On the service end of the business, customers want and need to keep the product working and in like-new condition. If you provide customers with service reminders, make sure they are timely and aligned with the customers’ actual use of the product.
Keep Customers Happy After Sales
The after-sale relationship is a time that will help you make your next sale if you provide great customer satisfaction.
So, when you say you love your customers, you can point to a specific reason why that is a true statement. Cincom, its customers and its customers’ customers are a family. We do love our customers, and we want to help your customers love you! Learn how Cincom business applications can help you.