What else is important to your prospects besides what you are selling and how much you are charging?
Most people would say their quality and their service. Now, do good quality and/or good service mean different things to different people? Of course it does.
What do good quality and/or good service mean to your customers specifically?
To some people, a quality vehicle is a Honda Accord, while to others, it is a Rolls Royce. It depends on their situation, and their perspective, doesn’t it? In this case, maybe a better term to use would be suitability. It better suits your client’s or customer’s lifestyle.
Question: Let’s suppose you a have two different clients and one arrives in a Honda Accord, and the other a Rolls Royce. Should you treat them differently? Why would you?
If they both came into your restaurant and ordered dinner, don’t they both deserve the same quality and quantity of service and satisfaction? After all, they are ordering from the same menu and paying the same price for their dinners.
Maybe the one that arrives in a Honda Accord values economy and quality over satisfying his/her ego and prestige. They are both eating at your restaurant, so they both “value” a good meal, with good service at a fair price.
If they order their meals and the quality is terrific…it’s the best cut of meat available everywhere, but it takes forever to get the meal to the table, they aren’t given the proper knife, it’s not cooked right and they have to duck every time someone comes out from the kitchen, then they may not get the “value”.
Often times, it is not always what you get (quantity/quality), but how you get it (value).
What might good service mean to your clients/customers/prospects?
What have you found it means to them in the past?
Well, to some of them, it may mean responsiveness. They want to know that if there is an issue, problem, challenge or question that someone is there to immediately address it for them.
Have you ever purchased from an individual or company, called the customer service number, but couldn’t reach anyone? How did that make you feel?
Right, like they didn’t care. And you know what? They probably do, but it’d be hard to prove when nobody seems to take a personal interest in helping you resolve your issue.
The number one reason most of your clients/customers/prospects that have left you in the past, and won’t do business with you in the future is because of what is called “perceived indifference”. They simply feel like you don’t care.
I recently had several concerns with a major marketing organization. I found the preferred contact method (their dedicated forum) to be un-manned. I received no answer at the 800#. My e-mailed inquiry was acknowledged by an e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org, thanking me for my inquiry and assuring me that someone would soon be in touch. Still waiting, waiting, and waiting.
Obviously, their definition of “soon” is different than mine. Or, am I being guilty of “perceived indifference”?
Even more important than responsiveness, which is the reactionary part of the communication process, is being proactive with your communications.
What is the “proactive” part of communication? It’s what is called follow-up, or maybe more appropriately, follow-through.
Do you realize that 94% of the problems your clients/customers/prospects encounter will never be brought to your attention?
However, they will tell 10 of their friends how much they hate you, how bad your company is, how your product/service stinks and how they will never do business with you again! And then, they will go straight to your competitor.
However, when you kill the “monster”, or solve the problem, you are a hero. When you allow the problem to get too large, you’re done and often times, you don’t even know why.
Now you are left with the only recourse being to delude yourself into thinking that they were the idiot, or being unreasonable in their requests, but it wasn’t your fault. They didn’t see the “value” in what you had to offer.
Again, “value” is perception. They did see the “value” in your product, or they never would have ordered in the first place. They didn’t see the “value” in YOU!
And that is your fault.
So, how do you avoid this situation? Ask.
Ask your clients/customers/prospects what you can do better in order to add “value” to their experience of doing business with you. There is a local gentleman that seems to own 9/10 of the Mickey D’s around town. Every one of his stores has a “comment card” on the table, complete with name, address and phone number.
Some may decline to tell you what they would like to see changed, but that’s OK. The one’s that do speak up will end up doing so for the majority. And, the ones that initially declined will remember that you reached out for their input.
You can not go wrong being pro-active in customer service. Follow-up and follow-through also helps to ensure trouble-free ownership of your product or service.
Have you ever bought a software program, taken it home and had problems installing it, getting it to load properly, or even to work at all? How’d that make you feel?
Frustrated, right? Even if you received it as a “gift” for your participation or as a present, you still feel the frustration.
What if, instead, the store that had sold it to you, or the person that gave it to you, had called you within a day of your acquiring the software to see if you had any issues with the installation or set-up and then walked you through the process?
Wouldn’t you feel better about your purchase and likely purchase again from that store/person?
Of course you would!
Merriam-Webster says value is defined as:
1: a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged
2: the monetary worth of something
3: relative worth, utility, or importance
Who decides what the “fair return”, “the monetary worth of something” or the “relative worth” of something is?
The customer, that’s who!
There may be some exceptions to that rule, like Neiman-Marcus (just stick a price on it, somebody will pay it), but by and large, it is the buyer that sets the price, not the seller.
And it is the “value” that contributed to the setting of that price. Otherwise, how could one phone company charge so much more for their service than another? The simple answer is better coverage, better connection, and better “value”.
The question is, “What do you do that adds “value” to your product or service?”
What sets you apart from your competition?
If the answer is nothing, then you have work to do.