service is probably one of the dumbest reasons for any type of
business to fail but it is one of the main reasons why many do fail
or at least miss a lot of sales and lose good customers.
provide excellent service to your customers, your business stands a
better chance to excel, get repeat business, and receive "word
of mouth advertising"-the best advertising, period!
years, I had a business that provided commercial refrigeration
service. Our very best, most loyal customers were those who were
unhappy with someone else due to poor service. We always strived to
provide good service, our prices were fair but usually slightly
higher than all others, and we kept our customers informed-if we had
problems, or were busy, we told them so.
title of this article, SERVICE is repeated thrice for good reason-you
must provide service before, during, and after the sale. If your
business "sells [provides] a service," for clarity in this
article it will be considered a "good" or "product."
Before the Sale
prospects-potential customers-contact you via phone, mail, or e-mail,
see your literature, web site, or advertisement, or visit your
office, you must be prepared to provide friendly and curteous service.
business is doing so well that you or some other human cannot answer
the phone, don't send them to "voice mail hell" or put them
on hold forever; quit advertising! There's no point in getting a
bunch of new prospects to call you if you're going to make them mad
and lose them.
informative brochure and price list that you can mail, and a web site
with similar information, will help you provide service before the
sale. Some large corporations advertise only for name recognition and
they omit prices. You should include pricing information along with
convenient ways for prospects to contact you for more information, or
to ask questions.
During the Sale
in business don't have a clue what this means. For example, many
retailers spend "tons of money" to get folks in their store
and have an excellent return policy, yet they make customers stand in
line for 20, 30, or more minutes to pay at a counter with a rude cashier.
during the sale includes everything that takes place during the
booking process, receiving payment from the customer, and everything
else that happens "in-between." Personal consultations, a
legal contract, and accurate billing are some of the things that
should be of the highest caliper.
customers have questions about any of the steps mentioned, be
prepared to answer them.
After the Sale
cases, this means remembering your customer, sending a thank you
note, and a greeting card during the holidays. Often, you can keep in
touch with your customers with a newsletter or special announcements
which, besides customer service, presents an opportunity for repeat
sales from your customers.
customers have questions or complaints after the sale, it is
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to help your customers. Failure to do so will
result in loss of repeat sales and no chance of referrals!
sales and continuing services that are billed on a regular basis,
marketing needs to be involved in the credit and collections process,
too. Often, when bills don't get paid, or services are cancelled, the
customer is unhappy. If the problem is resolved, most customers will
continue to be loyal, however, after they are gone, it's "near
about" impossible to get them to trade with you again.
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