By Colin Wilson
Director, Key Business Advisors
These days, customers demand so much more and have higher expectations on how they are served. A lot of people thought that online shopping would take over the world, yet many new businesses, especially retail and service-based businesses, are popping up. This proves that a lot of customers would rather buy from a knowledgeable salesperson with whom they had face-to-face conversations in a bricks-and-mortar store, than buy online after having to read other people’s advice and reviews and conduct their own research.
Still, there are customers who go into a retail store to seek advice and see an item for themselves, hold it in their hands and try it out. The store’s team members may have provided excellent customer service and there might not be a significant difference in prices, but the customer still ended up buying the item online. Why did excellent customer service not guarantee sales results in such cases?
Customer service and sales results are not different or separate – they go hand in hand. You have to get both of them right because they affect the bottom line of your business.
Let’s look at customer service and customers’ expectations. People who serve customers must be positive and have the passion to want to help – in other words, they must be approachable and want go out of their way to help customers. Their presentation skills need to be fantastic so that they can effectively demonstrate to customers their extensive product knowledge. They have the WOW Factor that makes customer feel they are the most important people. They have excellent interpersonal communication skills, and their verbal and nonverbal language are always positive because they know that those can make or break customers’ behaviours, responses and decisions.
Customers do not want to be treated like a transaction, so to survive in today’s competitive world, you must go the little extra mile to provide customers a positive shopping experience. People are creatures of habit, and once customers have been looked after to their satisfaction, they will return to your business because they feel secure that you understand their needs and that you have the product or service they are looking for.
Customers believe your business and products are worth the money they are spending if you not only meet their needs but also provide excellent service. The difference between your business and online shopping sites is the person who is serving customers. If the quality of customer service your business and team members provide is not much different from that of online shopping sites, then your bottom line would likely reflect this.
Customers do not call or go to your business, or allow you into their business or home unless they want something or are interested in what they think you can offer them. People who want to buy want someone who is prepared to go out of their way to satisfy their immediate and future needs. Sometimes, customers do not know what they want, so they are looking for a person to serve them who has the passion, can-do attitude, in-depth product knowledge and sales skills. Customers search for salespeople who not only understand their needs and have the products or services to meet those needs, but also provide excellent customer service and able to build a strong, professional relationship with them.
Just as they are essential to providing great customer service, good listening skills are also important to yielding strong sales results. Salespeople need to listen to what customers are saying, which are commonly “I want…”, “I need…”, “I’m thinking about…” or “I’m looking for…” Salespeople must list what customers are saying, then drill down and ask more questions to identify exactly what the customer wants.
All customers want a solution, but more importantly, they want the WHOLE solution so they don’t have to go back to get the extra thing or return to ask more questions about what they have just bought. This is where cross-selling and upselling come in.
Good customer service is creating that WOW Factor, while good sales results are all about the add-ons and more margins. Businesses naturally want salespeople to sell more, close more and exceed the individual and company targets, but if you or your team members are just focused on the dollars you make from customers, then you may be missing out on some good opportunities to win over more customers. See things through the customers’ eyes, and your business will stand out from your competitors.
If you would like to know more about how to improve customer service and sales results to positively impact the bottom line of your business, register for a free webinar facilitated by Colin Wilson, director of Key Business Advisors and head trainer of KeyBA Sales Performance customised training programs.
Date: 20th May 2014
Who should attend: Business owners and managers
Limited to 100 participants, so register now!