June 3, 2014
It only takes one employee 30 seconds to destroy a customer relationship that has taken months or even years to develop.
In a traditional sales environment, a sales representative will make ten phone calls just to schedule a single appointment. And just because an appointment has been scheduled, there’s no guarantee that the prospect will actually follow through with the meeting. No relationship has been established yet. If there is a time conflict for the prospective customer, he or she may be likely to cancel at the last minute.
A sales representative must meet with as many as ten individuals to get one prospective customer. A prospect is not someone who simply looks over the company’s marketing materials. A prospect is someone who has a real need for the products or services your company offers, and can afford them.
It takes three qualified prospects to make a single sale. This sales process can take months or even years to complete. For example, a financial representative called to encourage me to purchase a life insurance policy from the company she represents. We met a couple of times. I liked her and the products she sold, but I just wasn’t ready to purchase. She stayed in touch with me about once a quarter to give me product updates and maintain the relationship. Two years after her initial contact, I finally decided to purchase a policy and other financial products. It would be such a waste of time for both of us if I terminated the relationship due to poor customer service delivered from a different employee in the company.
As a trainer and consultant, I’ve had the privilege of observing customer service operations in all type of industries. I’ve heard phone conversations that were handled so poorly that they drove away long-term customers. I’ve witnessed customers stomping out of businesses, vowing never to return because they were so disgusted by the poor service they had just received.
One single customer interaction or phone call can destroy a customer relationship. That’s why it’s so critical for everyone in the organization to take ownership of the customer’s needs. Excellent customer service requires that you set goals to personally guarantee that each of your customers leaves happy.