Service has always been, and will always be in the details. Â I recently started working with a company that has three individuals who work with clients. Â I can’t market this company until they start getting their service more consistent which I have shared with them. Â In the mean time, make sure you aren’t doing the same.
My initial introduction to the organization was through one of their customer support reps, we’ll call her Amy. Â I observed her with several clients and each time she was engaged, clearly knew her products, and was able to solve their problems. Â Each one left with a smile on her face and with goals and reasons to come back soon. Â My second visit involved Jeff. Â Jeff is new and the first thing out of his mouth when someone comes in for an appointment is “I’m new”. Â Immediately clients move to uncomfortable. Â He wasn’t able to answer any of the questions put to him although he promised to find out and follow up, and he really only knew anything about the products he’s used himself, which were few. Â At the end of the meeting, the clients had the same or more questions and didn’t look happy. Â The third consultant, Lori, had a terrible time with time management. Â When I arrived she had one client but as they moved to her office, two others arrived. Â She was so concerned about the “back up” she clearly did not give the current customer the time she needed. Â Interestingly enough at one point she told the customer that if she “could come back when she had more time” Lori could get into more stuff with her. Â The customer then indicated she had “all the time in the world” much to the shock of Lori. Â She had transferred her time stress to the client and not even realized it. Â In addition, she didn’t listen to the client ask questions and then had to answer what she assumed had been asked. Â After the third question that wasn’t answered, the client quit asking although on her notepad she had many more questions. Â The fact that Lori didn’t notice the notepad or the list of questions was a surprise to me.
I have given this client a proposal that starts with unifying their offering before we start marketing. Â First, we need to get Jeff training on the products as well as customer service. Â Inspiring confidence is his number one job so we need to help him do so. Â Also, I checked in with him two days later to see if he had followed up on all the questions and he confessed he was behind on that. Â We quickly created a system so he can track the questions and answers and learn where to get them as his plan was to “just ask Amy”. Â We also put in place a goal of calling the client before she got home so that upon her arrival was a voice mail letting her know what her options were. Â This should gain Jeff a strong following. Finally, Lori needs some serious work. Â Helping her learn to focus on the person in front of her is job number one. Â I would like to see Lori in a situation where there aren’t other customers waiting but I believe there is always something else that needs to be done so I’m not convinced she is cut out for a service position.
Am I really recommending they not market their company? Â In the short term, yes! Â At this point there is a one in three chance that a customer would receive the products and service we would be marketing. Â This will not create the kind of referral culture and customer loyalty we would want out of a program. Â Until these issues are addressed, the majority of people will feel misled and unhappy with the company. Â Nothing can sabotage a marketing effort faster than customers with bad experiences!
So take a hard look at your organization or hire someone to do it for you. Â Have them make sure what you are selling is what you are providing and that customers will have a good experience. Â If the problems can be fixed by training, like Jeff, then get the training needed immediately. Â If the problems may not be trainable, then find the right people to do the job. And finally, if you have someone or multiple people setting the standard for service, be sure they are rewarded and are recognized for doing so. Â The worst thing that could happen to this company would be Amy leaving!