Customer Experience News & Trends

3 customer service elements salespeople must master

Today’s changing business environment places a heavy emphasis on service. The ability to deliver consistently spectacular service faster, better and cheaper than your competitors can differentiate your product or service in a good way.

Terrific and horrific service

Everyone has experienced terrific and horrific customer service. Either can become a defining pivot point in a customer’s decision to remain a customer or not.

Some salespeople are service aces. They devote their full attention to each customer and offer help without being asked. They have three essential qualities. Service aces are:

  • energetic
  • perceptive, and
  • empathetic.

These critical qualities have little to do with a salesperson’s technical ability and everything to do with their communication skills and attitude.

The good news: there’s no inherent reason everyone can’t develop a “service attitude.” In other words, every salesperson can learn how to relate to customers on a personal level.

Defined by service skills/attitude

Service ability is the first thing customers and prospects notice in any salesperson. Exceptional customer service can set any salesperson apart, regardless of size, budget, location or industry.

What defines exceptional service? Who are the salespeople who make it happen?

To deliver exceptional service, top salespeople think of it as a separate and distinct product. They start thinking about service from the customer’s perspective. How were they (the customer) treated? What did they expect? Were their expectations met?

To remain focused on the goal of delivering truly outstanding service, top sellers ask themselves: “How would I treat my most profitable customer? Then they apply the answer to all of their customers and prospects.

POS concept

Giving a customer “positively outrageous service” (POS) creates a halo effect for your product or service. The customer feels encouraged by it and wants to reciprocate it.

This reciprocity may include the most powerful marketing element they can provide, word-of-mouth, via an enthusiastic, immediate, frequently-repeated personal testimonial.

From satisfied to loyal

We all know that a satisfied customer is someone who has had a pleasant experience. A loyal customer is someone who has a relationship with you, values that relationship and resists change.

Loyal customers buy more than satisfied customers. The flip side of these benefits is that loyal customers demand more service. They notice small things, such as waiting too long for service or not being acknowledged, and get upset by them.

Here are some tips to help you satisfy a loyal customer’s complaints about service:

  1. Agree with the customer. When customers are angry, agree with them and share your concern about their problems. This is very different from being angry with the customer. If you agree with the customer, it’s almost impossible for the customer to be angry with you. Agreeing doesn’t mean that you’re accepting blame for the situation. It simply sets a better tone for resolving the complaint.
  2. Ask the customer’s input on a solution. Simply asking, “What will make you happy?” is a good way to solve a problem. This straightforward question can establish common ground for finding a reasonable solution.
  3. Take responsibility. You can solve the problem, learn something and help your customer all in one process if you take charge. Customers usually ask for less once you offer to help.

Adapted from the book “Why Service Stinks and Exactly What to Do About It,” by Scott Gross, a consumer advocate whose client roster includes many Fortune 500 corporations. He is the author of eight other books on sales and marketing.

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