July 13, 2017
The most important aspect of sales is going out and getting the customer. But getting customers is meaningless if you can’t keep them. With each customer interaction, you are either building or compromising your reputation and the reputation of your company. Due to tightening budgets and increased expenses, customers will greatly appreciate any effort you make that can help them to save money.
It’s important to build trust with your customers by helping them to identify ways to get the most value when they make a purchase. When you show your customers how they can save money, you demonstrate that you have their best interest in mind. Customers are quickly turned off when they think all you care about is making the sale.
For example, I called Apple technical support to inquire why I was unable to access the iTunes Store online. It had worked fine for two years, but lately, we’ve been experiencing problems. The technical support representative who took the call looked up his serial number and said, “I’m sorry. Your telephone technical support coverage has expired. You will need to pay for additional coverage and I will be unable to assist you at this time.”
I quickly replied, “Okay, but before I hang up, may I just ask you a quick question?”
“Sure,” she said. Then she proceeded to spend twenty minutes on the phone helping me at no charge.When I asked her why she decided to stick with me and waive the fee she said, “This was an unusual circumstance and, regardless of our policy, I just don’t feel right brushing off a customer who has a legitimate complaint.”
Was it worth it for her to waive the fee? You bet. I will be a loyal Apple customer for a long time to come just because she saved me time and money. She even went the extra mile when she followed up with an email that offered more suggestions on how to resolve this type of problem.
13 ways that to create partnerships with your customers by helping them to save money:
Whatever you do, never come back to a customer and tell him or her that you need to charge more because you miscalculated the original quote. I worked with a vendor who was going to handle some editing for me. He quoted me a price of $65. When the job was completed, he sent me an invoice in the amount of $90.
I called and said, “You made a mistake. You said it would cost $65.”
He replied, “Oh, yeah. I’m sorry, I misquoted and forgot to take into account your request for adding the sidebar quotes. It’s actually $90 and that’s a bargain.”
It didn’t feel like a bargain to me and he was determined to stick to the invoiced amount. He got his $90, but at what price? I will never refer any customers to this gentleman and I now work with a different editor.
Most businesses work in a vacuum. They spend their time just trying to keep up with day-to-day demands–rarely do they get a chance to observe what other businesses are doing and learn from them. From time to time, we need to pause, to step back from our routine, and look outside our walls. What’s going on “out there”? What are others doing in the business neighborhood? We should open a window and look out. We might all belong to different industries, but we share a single goal: to cement customer loyalty. What’s more, the principles that create customer loyalty cross industry lines. In that respect, we can all learn from each other.