In an ideal world, every customer would perceive their experience with your company as stellar one hundred percent of the time. Sadly, our world is not always perfect. Things go awry. People make mistakes. Customers understand our comments with a different listening than we intend. Delivery trucks get waylaid.
Errors, delays, misinterpretations, quality concerns, price concerns after the sale are a few of the challenges presented to sales managers frequently. These challenges, in themselves, do not usually serve to make or break our business relationships. The challenges that do disrupt or destroy our relationships with our customers are those that are incompletely resolved or those that create problems for the customers.
If your business operates with the highest level of integrity and with the aim of creating an ethical presence within the community then resolving customer satisfaction problems creates a win-win situation for both the customer and the business. Even better, managing potential problems in a proactive manner builds your business reputation for preventing problems before they occur.
How is Proactive Prevention accomplished? Honest communication is the key – taking the time at several points within the sales conversation to assure that both the customer and the salesperson clearly and mutually understand the goods and/or services involved in the sale, the terms of the sale, the additional contingencies (i.e. delivery inclusions or service fees), the warranties, the procedures for ascertaining complete satisfaction, etc.
A favorite attitude for customer satisfaction is: “We want you to be completely satisfied with your experience with our company. We treasure your feedback on each and every component of the sale. When the sale has been completed to your complete satisfaction, we want your highest recommendation – anything less is not to our satisfaction.”
Of course, it is absolutely vital that every aspect of the sale really is satisfactory to the customer (and the company) before proceeding to the next step.
When problems do arise, the best of integrity demands full resolution in a timely manner! If it is not in your power to grant a customer request or if the situation makes complete customer satisfaction impossible, this fact must be communicated clearly and fairly as soon as possible. The follow-up is asking the question of the customer, “What will make this situation right for you to be completely satisfied with your transaction?” And then going the distance to provide this level of satisfaction, plus extra – every single time!
Won’t customers view this as an easy mark to take advantage of the company? Perhaps. But consider the word of mouth advertising that flows from every single customer every single time! Your choice! If you truly encounter a customer who is only interested in taking advantage of the company, the next time a sales opportunity arises with this particular customer, the communication you deliver to that customer can be fashioned to encourage their highest integrity or worst case – structuring the terms of the sale to turn their focus away from dealing with you!