Is Your “Real” Customer Service Showing?

  • Do you say one thing to get the sale then another when an issue arises?
  • Are you scarifying a positive customer journey for a little inconvenience?

You’re building a home and the mortgage broker tells you to purchase construction insurance. You find a very nice agent who sells you that insurance based on the closing date the broker designates. She also states that she is looking forward to providing the homeowner policy following construction and to a long-term relationship. So far, your customer journey is great and everything is running smoothly.

Then, you receive the bill from the insurance company with a date that has already passed and you’re not ready to close for another two months. Somehow, there is a disconnect and you’re in the middle between the insurance agent and the broker.

You call the insurance agent, explain that the dates need to be changed because even you, don’t know the exact closing date yet. Then all heck breaks loose.

Customer Journey “No-No” #1 – Blame Another

It’s as if you’re talking to a completely different person. The insurance agent immediately blames the mortgage broker for giving the incorrect dates. The old hot-potato game. The last one holding it loses.

Customer Journey “No-No” #2 – Complain About Your Job

She then explains that she doesn’t even like to do this type of policy because this situation happens all the time. The only reason she wrote the policy was to do you a favor. She further explains (as if she forgot she was talking to a customer) it takes forever to re-do these policies. Poor me. Me-me-me. Me-me-me-me-me. How’s your customer journey now?

Customer Journey “No-No” #3 – Ask the Customer to Do Your Footwork

She then says YOU need to call the broker to straighten this out and the broker needs to send an email with the correct dates and maybe she can change the effective date on the policy. “Maybe?” Isn’t she getting a commission on this? What about the commission on the future homeowner policy which could amount to years of commissions? If you ever need to act on that future homeowner policy, will this agent work in your best interests? Now that’s a great question.

In a Dimensional Research Survey of over 1046 people on customer service provided by mid-sized companies–

  • The number 1 factor that influenced vendor trust is customer service.
  • 52% stopped doing business with a company after having had a bad customer experience.
  • 54% told their bad experience story to more than five people

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. –Warren Buffett

Speaking of doing things differently, if you were this sales rep what has to happen so you can avoid displaying the behavior articulated above?

1.  Keep Calm

If your customer presents you with an issue that will create more work for you, don’t jump to conclusions. Stay calm and ask questions. Maybe this is a quick fix disguised as a royal mess.

When you remain calm your customer will:

  • remain calm
  • see you as a professional
  • feel that you are in control

2.  Ask Questions to Gain Complete Understanding of the Situation

Take a breath and begin by paraphrasing what you think you heard. Gain agreement or learn what the customer is really saying. Just make sure you are both on the same page before moving on.

3.  Stay on Neutral Territory

  • Even though another may have caused an issue, take the high ground and let the customer know that you need to do your research to find out what happened. There could be a perfectly logical reason why this situation occurred.
  • Let her know that you will get back to her with a solution. Give her a day and time when you will call and follow through.
  • Get all the facts before acting
  • Your customer will see you as a professional

4.  Keep Details of Your Work Responsibilities to Yourself

  • Own your job tasks and they get done faster
  • When your customer, sees you make things happen for his benefit, you become a miracle worker

5.  Take responsibility for providing your customer with the best service possible

Do all footwork needed to close the sale:

  • Create emails
  • Make phone calls
  • Drop off paperwork
  • Make this investment with you effortless

These are some of the things you should be asking your customer to do IF you have earned the right to do so:

  • Would you complete this credit application?
  • Would you sign here?
  • Would you provide a testimonial?
  • Would you refer me to other business owners who can use my products and services?

6.  Shift Your Focus and Put the Needs of Your Customer First

  • Think of each customer’s account as if it were your business
  • Handle all communication, transactions, paperwork, digital work as if you were doing it for yourself or for a loved one.

When you truly care about serving and doing superior work you earn:

  • A respected reputation
  • Customer loyalty
  • Management and colleague loyalty

The effort you put into everything you do is directly related to your reputation and integrity.

The bottom line is this — take control and responsibility from the beginning and you will create a strong relationship with your customers.  Customer Service is the foundation of all great businesses.

Chiqeeta Jameson Bestselling Author Sales Coach and Speaker
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