Great customer service can make you or break you. High-quality products are important, but even more important are the services offered by you, the dealer, to ensure when the customer is paying for his or her product, that customer is getting more than just a product that could have likely been purchased down the road from another business. Be sure to set your company up for success by distinguishing it as the company with great products and exceptional personal service.
In an era where many things are becoming automated, don’t let your service become one of them. Customers and prospective customers still want that face-to-face interaction – a smile, handshake and acknowledgement that a human with a heart is listening to and hearing their challenges while thinking of ways to help. There are several ways that you and your employees can differentiate your business by providing the best personal service possible. Here are four we highly encourage you try out.
- Listen. Yes, this seems so simple, yet sometimes we really don’t pay attention while the customer is speaking, and yet we think we have all the answers. On my recent flight home from the Cattlemen’s Convention, my flight was delayed. However, just one gate down, there was a flight to Bloomington that was on time. I asked the airline customer service agent if I could be rebooked onto that flight. He said that airport wasn’t close to my “home” airport and argued that he could rebook me to Wichita. Bloomington might not have been close to my original airport, but when you live in Western Illinois, you know your airport options, and it was a lot closer than Wichita, eight hours away. However, this agent wouldn’t listen to me. He only would look at his computer and offer to rebook me to a place that was not feasible.
- Use Names. Names are the most personal possession, and when we use a person’s name it shows we care. A recent study shows that our names are so important to us that hearing them triggers an entirely different part of our brain than any other words. And when we use our own names, that makes the relationship even more personal, like when making a phone call or sending an email or letter. Wouldn’t you rather get an email or note from “Joe” instead of “The Feed Store”?
- Know your customers. For most people this comes as second nature, but as you grow your customer base and get busier, don’t forget that customers are people. Asking about their family, their cow herd, and new horse they’ve purchased or even their pets will spur on conversation and show that you care about the person, not just the customer. And maybe you can’t remember the kids’ names, but you read an article about them in the local paper, ask how the kids are doing. That will be enough to make a proud parent’s visit.
- Respond quickly. Nobody likes to wait, or even worse be put on hold. Now, there is no way to get to everyone’s request the minute they make them, but do be cognizant of the time it takes you to respond to a customer. If they are on the other end of the phone, and you are looking for a product or a person to put them in touch with, suggest calling them back as soon as the answer or person is found. That way they are not wasting their time on hold, and you are not feeling rushed. Try to return phone calls and emails each day and be prepared when you do.
“Personal service” isn’t just a buzzword created to add to your already busy life. It is an important, valuable concept that can help you grow your business. Happy customers will tell their friends and peers about exceptional service; but they will tell everyone about poor service, something you don’t want to be the topic of!
Providing personal service isn’t hard. In fact, it is something most people do every day. Just remember, it can pay off by distinguishing your business and leading to growth.