Regardless of what we sell we are all really in a service business. People do not buy what we sell. They buy us. If they truly buy you then they are a loyal customer. Nothing is more important to a business than a loyal customer. You can be making a lot of sales and have a good income but you will not have that for long if you don’t have loyal customers.
Due to a spike in temperature in the Northeast this week my central AC was working overtime. I realized on Thursday evening that the system was not cooling. I called the after-hours number at my HVAC provider. The person at the other end told me that the service team was working overtime but would not be able to respond that evening. I was frustrated but understood. The next day I received the news about the high volume of service calls. They told me that I was on the list and that my business was important to them but they were not in a position to promise a time when they would arrive. Later that day they told me that they were very sorry but that they would have to roll my call over to Saturday. On Saturday they confirmed that I would receive service and gave me my tech’s name. Sure enough the service was delivered at 5 pm. The service man had been working continuously and had 6 more calls after me. Wow! In spite of that he was very courteous and explained my system, the problem and how he was repairing it. In reality, I had not been a happy camper during the waiting time. However, the company held me as an important customer by keeping me informed and not promising something they didn’t know that they could deliver. My overall impression was positive. I have a maintenance agreement with them and will continue to renew.
So here are some things to remember when serving our customers.
Answer your phone promptly. If you are with another client then return the call when you are finished with your face to face client. Why is this important? How good do you feel when you call and get a live voice instead of going through an endless cue of phone mail prompts?
Keep your clients informed. Let your clients know each and every step you are taking. Keep them up to date on the good and the bad. The worst thing you can do is ignore them when you have to deliver bad news. They may not be happy but you have a chance to keep them in the loop with as much information as you can. At least you remove suspense for them.
Know your business. Stay current with your industry and participate in continuing education. Maintain a commitment to excellence. That commitment requires that you be well-educated in the industry, the market and the changes.
Don’t forget the points of connection. You have the opportunity to cement the bond or lose a customer based on how you handle each one. During a long transaction such as in real estate there are many points were your client must interact with you, attorneys, mortgage companies, inspectors, and so on. If you are helping them in each step, or at least being there to provide support, your customer will value you service and consider you a trusted advisor.
Are you under-promising and over-delivering? Are you exceeding customer expectations? If not start now.