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Courting Customers - From First Date to Marriage
Landing a new client is like courting a potential spouse. The first date is usually a make or break situation and if the door is still open, the work has just begun. Like dating, you'd better give your prospect a pretty good reason to meet with you again, because there is usually more than one suitor.
Getting the Next Date
The key to getting that next date or meeting with a prospect is to deliver enough value to make a subsequent get-together attractive. At our company, our first meeting consists of a thorough questionnaire. Some of the questions we cover are:
What is the nature of the problem as you understand it?
What are the most urgent aspects of the problem?
What impact does this have on your organization?
Are you willing to make investments in technology when there is a clear ROI?
Who will be involved with making these decisions?
What other areas of your organization are you considering technology solutions?
What qualities do you look for in a vendor?
What will be the key factors driving your decision on this project?
We follow-up with a letter and summarize the client's problems, the cost of the problems and the solutions we can bring to solve them. This gives the client a clearly articulated assessment of their situation based on the information they've disclosed to us. It's often a more accurate and precise appraisal then before they met with us.
We try to complement their understanding of the problem with our understanding of the technology solutions. The prospect appreciates this new tool they have to move forward with solving the problems and we've gotten permission in almost every case to continue the conversation.
Making Your "Proposal"
The next step is a proposal, and we focus on educating the client throughout this process. We go beyond quoting a price; we send links to relevant articles, case studies and other content that expands the prospects understanding of their problems.
Many of these are included in the proposal as an appendix and we strive to deliver a document that is highly educational and includes diagrams and drawings to make the project more easily understood. Our strategy is that our prospect will use this as a tool to educate the internal decision making team, putting our companies name in front of them.
Once we get a preliminary approval on a contract, it's like getting engaged. The intent is to create a permanent relationship, but any number of circumstances could send the deal south. We go the extra mile in everything we do. And like marriage, the real effort begins when the contract is signed and the honeymoon is over.
We also pay attention to how we're being treated to ensure we're making the right choice for a partner as well; do they meet their commitments for returned phone calls, decisions, meeting times. We try and get a sense of the culture; do people like working there, are the people friendly, is there a sense of mission.
A Happy Marriage
Great relationships generally have a number of common elements:
Mutual respect and trust
Congruency, integrity and accountability
Common interests and goals
Common cultural backgrounds
Renew Your Vows
We're always focused on a long-term relationship, because it takes significantly less effort and cost to keep a client, then to gain a new one. Below is a list of things we strive to achieve in order to create a positive relationship with a client:
Deliver more value than we're paid for and do things right the first time.
Become a respected and valuable member of the internal team.
Do the little extras without expecting extra compensation.
Meet or exceed every commitment we've made in the contract, including delivering on schedule.
Adapt to the nuances of the client, rather than making them conform to ours.
Be accessible and create an exceptional communication channel with the client.
Be likable and anticipate the client's needs.
When we've done all this we're in a prime position to renew the vows for the next project. We've developed a quality relationship and the client has no reason to look elsewhere.
The Bottom Line
Whether you're getting married or acquiring a new customer, use common sense; find somebody that's compatible and attractive to you, consistently give more than you get and be a positive force in their lives.
About The Author
Bryan Brandenburg has published 5 books as well as a number of articles both in print and on the internet. He has published almost 30 software programs both for consumers and business. More information can be found at www.vmmmg.net
Customer Service - Google News
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8 Critical Steps to Establish a Customer Service Culture
"Every company's greatest assets are its customers, because without customers there is no company,"--Erwin FrandDuring our recent weakened economy, many businesses have seen declining revenues and declining budgets. Declining budgets often lead to reduced staff levels and diminished services.
Stay - Say - Pay
Would you like to have customers that stay with you anddon't buy from your competitors?Customers that say nice things about your business to otherpeople; pay you on time and accept the fact that you might be a bit more expensive thenother suppliers?Of course you do but how do we perform this miracle? It'sdead easy really; you only have to consider two factors: be Reliable and be Likeable.It almost goes without saying that it's vital to have areliable product or service.
How Do You Create Customer Loyalty?
Another sad fact of life is that these days, very few customers are loyal. Most of their loyalties lie with their bank accounts, and you can't blame people for watching their shrinking dollars.
Creating the Right 'Viral Reputation'
Unless you are brand new to business, or have been under a rock for quite some time - one key marketing technique (which isn't new) - is called 'Viral'.Based on the word 'virus' - viral marketing or viral business simply means it 'spreads' like a virus.
Doors by Catering to Your Clients
Clients? they are the most important influence in the success of any business. It is vital to keep them satisfied and happy.
Customer Conversion Mistakes That Will Cost You
The following are common mistakes that Sales Managers and Owners make in the sales process which could be costing you thousands or even hundreds of thousands in lost revenue.- No system to capture and log prospect information/contact data on incoming ad calls.
You Bever Know Who Youre Serving
You Never Know Who You're Serving when customers turn irate.I think of myself as a reasonable person.
Customer Service Is More Than Just Being Nice To People
Many organizations tackle to the issue of customer service by exhorting their employees to speak with a smile. Be polite.
The Drawback of Hacking Off a Blogger Through Weak Process Gaps and Pathetic Customer Service
With all of the recent data theft in the financial sector, it is important to make sure that we don't go crazy trying to protect ourselves from risk. Risk management does have a value but this value lies mostly on the front end.
More Customers - Watch those Little Things
Two situations, two perfectly acceptable experiences, but in one case, an excitement about great service and in the other case, just OK.The LaptopI have a laptop which is under warranty - 5 working day turnaround they said when I rang them about a power problem.
The Call Center world is an intense pressure-driven environment continually being shaped by pressure to ensure steady profitability and a secure competitive advantage.Accountability and a basic fundamental understanding of Performance Management serve as two of the most power tools a Call Center manager has at his/her disposal.
Add Value - And Kill Mediocrity in Customer Service
There are two kinds of customer service we all experience occasionally, outstanding customer service, and bad customer service. What we experience most of the time is mediocre customer service.
It's Customer Service Stupid: Delivering Customer Service Training That Sticks
"Society is always taken by surprise at any new example of common sense."This Ralph Waldo Emerson quote opens one of the most impressive works on customer service: Michael LeBoeuf's book How To Win Customers and Keep Them For Life.
Writing The Book On Great Customer Service
Q: One of the big chain bookstores recently opened up near my small book store. Already I can see my business starting to decline.
The Logic of Emotion!
Homebuyers are an interesting study. Watching people make their home buying decisions has brought me to the conclusion that every decision that every one of us makes is based in emotion.
If Everyone Thinks They Give Good Service, Why Do We As Customers Think Its Poor!
First of all let's look at what customer service is all about.If you go into a shop and talk to anyone who works there you expect to be treated with respect, not sold to and to have en enjoyable experience.
Poor Customer Service - Are Your Customers Driving Away Other Customers
Every customer you have is a word-of-mouthadvertiser for you. Unfortunately 90% of this freeadvertising is negative.
Customer Service Consultants
When all else fails in your company to meet the needs of your customer consider a customer service consultant. If you find that agents in your company are constantly having misunderstanding that result in loss of customers bring in a consultant.
Wholesale Buyers Versus Retail Customers
Are wholesale buyers and retail customers really different? Frankly, there are two answers to this question: yes and no. Yes, because they are different from the buyers and those selling to buyers' point of view and no, because the principles that apply are the same for both types of buying.
What To Do When Youve Blown It
It's bound to happen sooner or later - yes, even to you and your business. Sometime or other, you will make a blunder that upsets a customer.
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