13 Aug 4 Rules on Customer Contact – Follow them & Increase Customer Satisfaction & Sales
Rule # 1: Your greatest joy is experienced when speaking to the customers.
In a start-up phase you should never outsource customer service calls. Directing customer contacts away from you, will distance you from operations. This will weaken your ability to ask the right (read: correct & to-the-point) questions. Enjoy every second of a customer service call -“even if it rips your ear of”. Remember as long as you speak to the customer your competitors cannot. At my previous job I handed out my e-mail address via our website, to over 600.000 customers. I did not get that many customers contacting me, but the ones that did contact me gave me very valuable information. Intense customer contact will keep you & your organisation on it’s toes while at the same time giving you the right things to focus on. Intense customer contact will “keep you eye on the ball”.
Rule # 2: Never listen to your organisation – listen to your customers
Concerns about ongoing business operations and recommendations for product development that arise from within an organization, is a poor estimator of your customers actual problems or concerns. That’s why you should take sales meetings with existing and potential customers every week, and do this on your own… you will learn more. In addition, if you decide to outsource your customer service you should continue to take customer service calls every week. Ideas from within your company, that often generate little customer value, will thereby have a harder time passing through the gates of your management team.
Rule # 3: Understand to 100% why your customers purchase your product/service
Understanding what value / uniqueness your product bring to the market should be obvious for all employees of a company, but it’s not….. Spending time listening to your customers will generate better decisions, within areas such as marketing and product development. At a Wimbledon tournament, Andre Heiniger from Rolex, got a question from a friend – “How is the watch business doing?” Mr Heiniger’s response was – “I do not know – Rolex is not in the watch business we are in the luxury business“. This is understanding your customers and your products! Mark McCormack, author of “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School”, calls this insight – “Marketability” – understanding your products / services uniqueness and position.
Rule # 4: Delight the customer as much as the consumer
Make sure you not only reach out to the customer purchasing your product, but spend time talking to the actual consumer of it. A customer purchase your product or service, while the consumer makes use of it – You mission is to make both of them love you! To many companies spend way to much time focusing on sales, sales & sales (this is great for anyone who learns to benefit from this fact). Sure, focusing on sales is a must, but focusing on the consumers is a prerequisite for continues success and growth of your company. A company that is very focused on this, and that vividly spreads this mindset to it’s employees, is Procter & Gamble. Your relationship with customers is initiated by the consumer but prolonged only by the contented customer.