February 9, 2010 by Ken Dooley
Posted in: communication, customer loyalty, Customer service, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, New Research, sales management, Sales meeting ideas, training, Value
Customers are bombarded with attractive offers all the time. They are hit with deals claiming to have better pricing, quality and service. But those are not the factors that cause them to jump ship to another company.
Decisions are based on emotions
Customers rely on their emotional experiences with salespeople more than any anything else when trying to decide whether or not to stay with a company, according to research by the Peppers & Rogers Group.
Some findings include:
- 60% of all customers will stop dealing with a company if they sense indifference on the part of salespeople
- 70% customers will leave a company because of poor service, which they usually blame on the salesperson
- the vast majority of defecting customers won’t tell you there’s anything wrong before jumping ship — in fact, 80% describe themselves as “satisfied” or “very satisfied” just before leaving — so surveying isn’t enough, and
- customers who feel the salespeople they deal with are “exceptional” are 10 to 15 times more likely to remain loyal.
These statistics show the important role that attitude and emotion play in determining whether customers leave or stay.
Meeting expectations is not enough
It’s critical for salespeople to understand customer perceptions and regularly collect feedback. Meeting their expectations is not enough. Customers want to know you care. They want a positive response when they run into problems or have serious questions.
Here are four loyalty-building strategies to share with your salespeople:
- Come up with new ideas. You have expertise and knowledge. You know what’s happening in your industry, and you know your customers’ needs. Make a serious effort to share your thoughts. Try to help the customer get what’s needed. It will build their confidence and trust in you and your company.
- Prove yourself – again and again. Some salespeople think because they’ve been around a long time, prospects and customers will automatically come to them first. But it’s more effective to act as if no one knows you or recognizes the value you bring. Strive to prove it every day.
- Stay persistent and focused. Retaining your value in the minds of your customers requires persistence and focus. Customers’ needs change frequently, so try to avoid making assumptions about what they want or need. Ask yourself, “What’s happening to customers? What changes are taking place? What problems are they facing? What difficulties are they encountering in the marketplace? What are their opportunities? If you don’t have current, up-to-the minute answers to these questions, you’re in no position to meet their needs. The first rule is to stay in touch. Call frequently to find out what challenges customers are facing.
- Think beyond customer problems. You may be doing a good job taking care of customers’ problems, but that’s not always enough today. It’s also the ideas, information, help, guidance and insight that you provide customers with that earns you the privilege of doing business with them. Initiate discussions that focus on their future needs, upcoming projects or areas of potential growth.