If the bad economic news continues, consumers and businesses won’t stop spending – but they are sure to become more discerning.
Whether this is a short term blip on the financial radar or a more significant downturn, we have no choice but to be optimistic about the opportunities.
While a bull market is great, a bear market represents another set of opportunities and in your business, if you have a great product and offer great customer service, a more challenged economic environment can often boost success.
Great customer service is incredibly important in tough times – and yet how rarely do we experience this from business?
Speaking as a consumer now – I am totally loyal to service providers and product providers that offer fantastic service – the businesses that have customer service people who really listen, who really are involved with the business (as opposed to those customer service centres that are located in another country and seem to have learnt the keen art of buck passing and require long frustrating phone-calls).
We are all busy as consumers in both a business-to-business sense and in our role as retail consumers – we want to deal with people who are on our page and who actually care, as opposed to mouthing the words. For example I would much prefer someone call me to check that I am happy with my car or other service rather than having to complete yet another form-paper or digital to explain how great or bad the service was. Perhaps I am overly cynical about how these forms are (or if they are) processed.
In a tougher sales environment, customer-focused businesses have the edge.
A few simple features of great customer service include:
- Product/service quality – over deliver not over promise.
- Listen to your customer carefully – what do they really want/need?
- Make sure the people you have at the front line of the business actually like dealing with people.
- Train these people well.
- Make sure your database records important details about your customers needs and potential needs.
- Be pro-active with your customers – call them before they need to call you.
- Keep connected to your customers in a creative, helpful but not intrusive way – drive them into your business, not away from it.
- If you are offering deals or add-ons make sure that you use them for the greatest customer benefit.
Consumers and businesses won’t stop spending – but they are sure to become more discerning if the bad economic news continues.
I have just read the interview with Gillian Franklin. Gillian is and has always been an outstanding role model for women. Her positive approach to cancer is inspiring and uplifting. Her optimism should give us all heart to deal with all the challenges of life and business. Thanks Gillian for your inspiration.
To read more Marcia Griffin blogs, click here.
High Heeled Success is Marcia Griffin’s latest book, and is a frank account of building a business from a solitary sales person to a multi-million dollar business with 4700 sales consultants around Australia and New Zealand. It recounts successes and failures along the way and was written to inspire entrepreneurs-particularly women to triumph in business.