Customer relations rake in revenue

The key to success in these challenging times is customer service. Building lasting customer relationship is a strategic advantage. This article states the benefits of cultivating customer relationship…
Aiming at lasting relations

I was recently on the panel with award winning retailers. The debate was focused on what award winning retailers do that non award winning retailers don’t do. Then the subject of customer service came up. The award winning retailers mentioned that one of the keys to be the best in the market was through customer service. Everyone started nodding their heads in agreement. I was the only one who disagreed. Outstanding businesses do not provide customer service, mediocre businesses provide customer service.  

What Do Winners Do?
Winners do not provide customer service, they realise that they have to go the extra mile. They realise that the key to success is building customer relationships. They don’t merely serve the customer; they become friends with their customers. 

If you examine what the winners do and why they stand apart, I believe, you will see a pattern that the rest of us can build on as well.  

The following checklist may help:
Product knowledge training sessions are a regular part of the business culture. The consumer trusts winning businesses. They have credibility. Trust only comes when the consumer has confidence in the team members they are communicating with. They expect the team to have the knowledge in the products they are involved in. 
They don’t have sales scripts. The winners recruit people with personality and allow them to build a relationship with the consumer. Give a team member a script and you’ll never move past customer service. 
The successful businessmen know when to have an empathetic relationship with the consumer. Let me give you an example. I recently rented a car from a leading car rental company. I spent the first few days driving a car that “hiccupped” along the road, before it finally broke down on the fourth day and left me stranded in a country lane for three hours. When I got back to the depot I gave the receptionist the car service report from the service repairer that stated the car was unsafe. She took it off me and said “Were you happy with the rental?”, when I replied that the car was unsafe, the reply was “Apart from that, were you happy with the car rental?” No empathy, no sorry. Another customer lost. 
The winners empower their team members to make decisions with the consumer and support them when they make those decisions. The consumer has a lot more confidence in an empowered team. 
These winners set standards. Their teams agree on a minimum standard and ensure everyone lives by those standards. This still allows the team to excel, but they also know where the base line is. 
The successful businessmen measure success through different ways A few businessmen use professional mystery shopper organisations to check that the standards are being adhered to. If someone drops below the standard they coach them to improve. 
Finally, they celebrate success as a team. They realise it is a team effort and that they need to celebrate their success.
Customer service training provides the team with the basic skills to ensure the team can provide the customer with their requirements, but the winners excel, they get to know their customers well and build a relationship.

John Stanley (CSP) is an acclaimed retail consultant and WA Entrepreneur of the Year 2009. He is the author of several marketing, customer service and retail books including the best seller “Just About Everything a Retail Manager Needs to Know”.  


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