It has been said that some people will do practically anything to make a sale, but almost nothing to keep it. Research has shown that over two-thirds of clients who stop doing business with a firm do so because of neglect. If a customer feels neglected, the salesperson has not serviced the customer properly. The kind of service I'm referring to is not the "fix-it service", or the "help-me service" that service companies sell. I refer to the value-added service that should come to the customers free of charge. It is the service that gives the customer more that he/she is paying for and perhaps even more than is expected. Value-added service will often determine whether you create a happy, satisfied customer or a disgruntled, unhappy customer. If customers are happy about the service they receive, they will tell three other people on average. If customers are unhappy with service, they will tell an average of ten people! While that is not fair, it's a reality. Salespeople cannot afford dissatisfied customers. We must do whatever it takes to create customer satisfaction. Exceptional care of the customer is the only formula for success in the future as service becomes more and more desired and expected by the public.
Recently, I had an experience that illustrates exceptional care. I picked up my suit at the cleaners and was informed that it had "blistered" on the outside when cleaned. This is due to a defect in the lining or backing, according to the cleaners. They provided me with information from garment manufacturers to indicate that it was indeed a flaw in manufacturing. Obviously, I was disappointed. I returned to the men's clothing store where I had purchased the suit almost a year previously, suit in hand, hoping for some type of credit towards a new suit. The salesman greeted me with a warm smile and asked how he could solve my problem. I told him my situation, and he suggested that I find another suit I liked since there was no way to repair the old one. No mention was made of credit, so I assumed that he was waiting to see what suit I picked out before negotiating an appropriate purchase price. The only suit I could find was similar to the damaged one cost $40.00 more, but after trying it on I decided that I wanted it regardless of any credit. Tim, the salesman, asked me if I liked this suit as well as the present one and I said yes. He replied, "It's yours". I asked if there was any adjustment since this was a higher-priced suit. He replied that he and his company were the only ones that needed to make adjustments to ensure that I was satisfied. That was exceptional service, done sincerely and without any cajoling on my part. It was just professional, value-added service. Tim was a professional salesman who knew he couldn't afford a dissatisfied customer. I wouldn't think of taking my business elsewhere. Instead of the average three people, I have told literally thousands of people about the service at that men's store. Customers certainly don't expect the type of service I got from the men's store, but they do expect attention from the salespeople. A thank-you note, a follow-up phone call to see if the customer is satisfied, cards for special occasions and notification of available products and services of interest to them are certainly within the realm of every salesperson. It is simply evidence that you do care and that the customer is important. You will get what you want to the degree that you give others what they want. If we become go-givers as well as go-getters, our image as salespeople will soar. Keep in touch. The perception of customers as important persons is really what counts. They are the ones who grade our "final exam" and determine if we pass or fail for future business. The retention of customers for repeat sales is one secret to being a professional salesperson. It's the difference between short-term success and long-range career building. The future will require an attitude of superior service. The old adage of "building a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door" is no longer true – if it ever was! Tomorrow someone will have a "better mousetrap" than you, and customer service will make the real difference. If you want to build a career in selling rather than just make another sale, commit yourself to exceptional customer service. Your career depends on it!