What defines exceptional service? Who are the likely people in your company who make it happen?
More often than not, it’s your salespeople. To deliver great service, exceptional salespeople think of it as a separate and distinct product. They start thinking about service from the customer’s perspective. How were they treated? What did they expect and were their expectations met?
To remain focused on the goal of delivering truly outrageous service, they ask themselves: “How would I treat my most profitable customer?” Then they apply the answer to all of their customers and prospects.
Giving a customer “positively outrageous service” (POS) creates a halo effect for your product or service. The customer feels encouraged and wants to reciprocate.
This reciprocity may include the most powerful marketing medium, word-of-mouth, an enthusiastic, immediate, frequently repeated personal testimonial.
From satisfied to loyal
We all know that a satisfied customer is someone who has had a pleasant experience. A loyal customer is someone who has a relationship with you, values it and resists change.
Loyal customers buy more than satisfied customers. The flip side of these benefits is that loyal customers demand more service. They notice small things, such as waiting too long for service or not being acknowledged and get upset. Here are some tips to help you satisfy a loyal customer’s complaints:
1. Agree with the customer. When customers are angry, agree with them and share your concern about their problems. This is very different from being angry with the customer. If you agree with the customer, it’s almost impossible for the customer to be angry with you. Agreeing doesn’t mean that you’re accepting blame for the situation for you or your company. It simply sets a better tone for resolving the complaint.
2. Ask for the customer’s input on a solution. Simply asking, “What will make you happy?” is a good way to solve a problem. This straightforward question can establish a common ground for finding a reasonable solution.
3. Take responsibility. You can solve the problem, learn something and help your customer all in one process if you take charge. Customers usually ask for less once you offer to help. Once they have a complaint resolved, customers usually move toward the loyalty end of the scale.
Adapted from Why Service Stinks and Exactly What to Do About It, by Scott Gross.