Customer relationship management is not everybody’s cup of tea. Unless you’re Amazon or Apple who generously showers all their affections and energy on customer service, you need to take your game up a notch.
Here is how a typical customer service conversation goes:
Customer Support agent: “General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?”
Customer: “My car ran fine for a week, and now it won’t go anywhere!”
Customer Support agent: “Is the gas tank empty?”
Customer: “Huh? How do I know?”
Customer Support agent: “There’s a little gauge on the front panel, with a needle, and markings from ‘E’ to ‘F.’ where is the needle pointing?”
Customer: “It’s pointing to ‘E.’ what does that mean?”
Customer Support agent: “It means that you have to visit a gasoline vendor, and purchase some more gasoline. You can install it yourself, or pay the vendor to install it for you.”
Customer: “What!? I paid $$12,000 for this car! Now you tell me that I have to keep buying more components? I want a car that comes with everything built in!”
Tim Ferriss, in his best-selling book, “The 4-Hour Workweek”, shares this valuable insight:
Only 20% of your customers generate about 80% of the business…
If you read any book on customer service, you’ll only come across two types of customers. First, those who are happy with your service. And second, those customers who are not happy with your service. But Tim Ferriss talks about the third kind of customers: he labels them as energy drainers.
These type of customers take a lot of your time but add very little value to your business. With these type of customers, what you can do is fire them. Yes, you read it right: fire your energy draining customers like a boss. For the rest of your customers, here are some tips which can help you deal with your customer relationship management issues:
Not everyone will appreciate the good that you do, even the words that you use for them. But as a company, you need to carry a brand personality with you. Maybe you might not consider saying thank you or even sorry a big thing, but customers really care about how you make them feel.
These two phrases carry an immense amount of power. Saying thank you or even apologizing to your customers will go a long way towards helping you establish a bond with your customers. Portraying emotions sends a message to your customers that you’re also human. Akin to people, brands too can make mistakes. But what separates ordinary brands from successful ones, is the level of transparency they show towards their customers.
So what if you have messed-up or did an excellent job of delighting your customers. You’re allowed to bask in appreciations showered your way or say an occasional sorry to your customers when the need arises.
Of course, you need to ensure that the phrase comes straight from your heart. Whatever you feel, you need to communicate to your customer without upsetting them. This is the core of Customer Relationship management.
I’m a huge fan of selling without selling. I have a habit of networking with people in a unique way. Instead of just asking open-ended random questions in a conference, I ask what problems people are facing in their business and go out there to solve them.
Selling from the heart entails establishing a bond before you pitch your product. Instead, you just ask them for their problem and you provide them a solution in the form of your brand.
There is no clear-cut way to connect with your customers on a deep level, but what you can do is to listen to your customers. Even if you don’t have any idea of what your customers want, you can always listen to them. Because sometimes customers are not looking for someone, something, or someone to blame, they just need someone to listen to. Customer Relationship management is more about listening, connecting, to your customers and less about just making the sales.
After you’ve made them feel good about themselves, you’ll be able to sell them anything and they will be happy to buy from you.
When I started my first business, I was over the moon. I used to speak at conferences and attend seminars and talked up the features of my products. For sometimes, this approach worked like a charm. But, then one-day, reality dawn on me. I was making a lot of noise but was unable to create an impact. Instead of selling the features, I started selling their benefits.
When Apple launched iPod, they didn’t mention any feature. Instead, they were selling the benefits.
When everyone was busy vying for the store war, Apple ventured forward to grasp what customers wanted. How many songs can this hold? And answered the question with their marketing campaigns.
Let us take another example.
Take a look at this screenshot from Freckle:
They are selling software but they haven’t mentioned the word ‘software’ on their website. But, still, they have managed to win over their customers and make some good money by selling the benefits of their product.
This doesn’t mean that features don’t matter. They do. But in the current high-tech economy where customers are well-informed, you need to give them what they really want. You have to fulfill their needs for your product.
“Remain flexible and teachable so that you can make necessary adjustments in life.” ~Mz Liz
You don’t need to force customers to subscribe to your newsletter.
If you’re not able to sell something to the customer on the first go, it is perfectly understandable. When Zappos was starting out, they worked hard on customer service. But as they say, you cannot make everyone happy. Don Power – one of the customers wanted to have some fun with the company. So, instead of shoes, he asked the customer service agent to send him a Pizza.
What was supposed to be a prank turned out to be a huge business opportunity? The very next day there was a parcel from Zappos and guess what was in it? This is how Zappos handles its customers. A clear example of Customer Relationship management.
If you want to create a memorable experience for your customer, you need to be friendly & stay flexible. No matter how angry your customers get, if you can find a business opportunity with your conversation, make sure that you avail the chance to make the sale.
There is no need to take much time to your customers.
The world is moving so fast, that if you miss the opportunity to grab the attention of your customer, your potential customer will surely turn that opportunity and leverage it to their advantage. With this attention-deficit generation, people don’t have time to read long paragraphs and make something out of it. Just give them what they want in a few bullets.
If there is one thing that you can do to increase your sales, it is improving your customer service. Despite the size of the brand, you’re expected to treat customers with respect and offer a solution to their problems. Customer Relationship management is a serious business. You need to work hard and do things that make your customer happy.
I have used these tips to 10X my sales. If you’re serious about getting some business for your brand, I suggest you follow along as well.