The big revelation behind why companies are loved, and how they earn return business, is that they can be counted on. They establish peace of mind with their guarantee. They train their representatives to not only know the products backwards and forwards, but to care why customers are buying them.
Businesses that support businesses, such as in the foodservice equipment and supplies industry, possess a unique challenge as well as opportunity for getting customers to love them because they have multiple constituencies relying on them, and ultimately need to serve so well that their customers will, well, love them.
What follows is a list of actions that must be done to show customers you respect them. There's no big red button to push to make this happen. It requires the gnarly hard work of collaborating and collective decision making — but get it done already! Customers are fed up. By taking care of these universally challenging experiences you'll be well on your way to delivering and earning customer respect and maybe even love.
- Fix (really) the top ten issues bugging your customers. We have created a hysterical customer feedback muscle in the marketplace by over-surveying our customers and asking (ever so thoughtfully) "how can we improve?" Customers have told us what to do and we haven't done it. You can probably recite the biggest issues right now. Do something about it. Customers read the lack of action as lack of caring and certainly as a lack of respect.
- Help the frontline to listen. The frontline has been programmed to get a certain output — closing the call within a set time frame, an up-sell or cross-sell, etc. We've robotized our frontline to make the conversation one-sided to the company's advantage. Let them be human, give them the skills for listening and understanding and help them deliver what the customer needs.
- Deliver what you promise. There is a growing case of corporate memory loss that annoys and aggravates customers every day. A promise is made for exceptional extended warranty service, yet the customer has to strong-arm his or her way through the corporate maze just to get basic things accomplished. They're exhausted, they're annoyed and they're telling everyone they know. And when they get the chance they're walking.
- When you make a mistake right the wrong. If you've got egg on your face, for whatever the reason, admit it. Then right the wrong. There's nothing more grossly frustrating to customers than a company that does something wrong then is either clueless about what they did or won't admit that they faltered.
- • Work to believe. Very little respect remains, if any, after we've put customers through the third degree that many experience when they need to return a product, put in a claim or use the warranty service. As tempting as it is to debate customers to uphold a policy to the letter of the law, suspend the cynicism and believe your customers. Most are going to honestly relay what is happening to them with your product and service. Work to eliminate the question of doubt about your customers' integrity. It will do wonders for the attitude and actions that your frontline brings to their interactions with customers.