Photo credits : Lalita Raman
Have you ever thought like a customer when you are talking to a potential client?
Do you really care to understand what the customer wants ?
I was in Mumbai last week visiting my family for 4 days. My dad and mom are not keeping too well and I thought I must take some time out to be with them.
While I was there, I decided to complete some formalities that was pending with a bank account that I had opened. The relationship manager stated that he wanted copies of my passport, other identification documents and photographs. I was taken aback because I had submitted all of this in as many copies as was required by this bank, four months back. The relationship manager started giving me several reasons why he wanted those again, none of which sounded convincing to me. One of the reasons he gave me was that this was a compliance requirement. This is one of the top favorite reasons given by many a customer contact of most banks. The relationship manager did not take time to understand my requirements, figure out how much time I had and how to reduce the inefficiency for me.
Many customer contacts ever so often don’t represent their company well because they engage in the blame game. They stop caring about the relationship evident from their actions that it is all about a sale, a transaction or an account to be opened.
Not for a moment people like this relationship manager, that I met at this bank, stop to reflect and ask
-> Would I as a customer like to receive the same treatment?
-> How can I make it seamless and efficient for a client who deals with my organization?
-> How can I as a contact point for the client stop the client from getting hassled through the procedural hoops within my organization ?
-> What can I do or not do to make this relationship valuable for each client?
THE CUSTOMER IS THE REAL BOSS – “All Associates work for the customers who buy our merchandise. In fact, the customer can fire everybody in our Company. And they can do it by simply spending their money somewhere else. The greatest measure of our success is how well we please the customer, ‘Our Boss’. Let’s all support Aggressive Hospitality and have our customers leave 100% satisfied every day.”—Sam Walton, The Founder of Wal-Mart
Do you as CEO, sales contact, sales head, Chairman or Business owner, leader ask What are the central issues, changes or challenges that your client is currently dealing with ?
How can I help resolve some of those issues with respect to the services that are provided by my organization?
Do you start with the client in mind or a sale approach in mind ?
A sale is not just about an account being opened or a transaction being made but it is about establishing a relationship of trust, rapport and caring for the customer’s needs. A sale can take place only if the customer feels that the relationship is worth it. No deal can be struck overnight and this is something that is over looked in today’s culture of immediacy,
What are the keys to turning transaction sales attitude to a long-standing relationship?
I think the key ingredient is Empathy. Because when you are empathetic
1. You think and act from the customer’s perspective. This creates Trust and Builds Rapport.
2. You listen to understand the customer and not serve, just to make a sale or a transaction. You are able to explain what services you can offer to meet those needs. It also allows you to be candid in instances where you think your products or services will not match what the customer is looking for. And in understanding the customer and in describing what you can offer, you indicate not only your empathy but competence
3. You show that you care for the customer and the relationship. Why do we often hear stories or have had experiences where the visual image you have of a sales person is someone who will be pushy? Because they only care for their sale rather than understanding what the customers need?
4. You are engaged.
Let me share a personal story of mine which I experienced whilst in Mumbai.
I had got myself a Samsung S4 earlier this year. I have always been an iPhone fan but have been disappointed with their products ever since Steve Jobs passed away. Though I had got myself an S4, I was using it only for clicking pictures because the picture quality is outstanding and beats iPhone 5 hands down. I decided I’ll use my S4 whilst in Mumbai. My sister uses Samsung and has been a fan of the same. The S4 I have is 16GB memory which is against my normal practice of getting 64GB. So I decided to go to the Samsung shop with my sister and get myself a Micro SD card of 64GB capacity. The person who was servicing me was someone whom my sister has been dealing with. I was pleased with my experience of dealing with him. But the WOW experience was when I, by mistake, deleted the photos on my Micro SD card when I was fiddling with moving and copying things from my phone to the SD Card. I was upset that I had lost all my good pictures. So I did a search on Google and found a method to retrieve deleted photos from the Micro SD card. I called up this person at the shop and told him about the mishap and the possible route of recovery. He said he had never done this before but he can help me because he has a card reader. He told me he will test out this method and call me back within an hour or two. This person went out of his way to help me. He deleted some photos from his own device and checked if this route that I had suggested would work. I recovered my photos and but for the empathy that this salesperson at that shop showed, I would never have been able to do so without any additional expenditure and in such a short time. His act of empathy has now made me a Samsung fan and I am curious to explore the phone and check it out. I also bought two other accessories from that shop. His empathetic behavior has turned me into a satisfied customer. He was a classic example of a super engaged employee and I observed that there were many other return customers, just like my sister, to that shop.
5. You build your brand without concerted efforts in making that happen. The above example fits this point well.
6. You enrich the experience for the customer and get their buy in which holds stead to a long-term relationship.
7. You communicate with clarity and help your and your Company’s growth.
Have you ever considered that if we don’t like something forced down on us why would someone else want that ?
Do you as leaders build an organization that cares and your representatives are empathetic?
Do you treat your customers as the boss in your words, action and behavior?
For Coaching, Facilitating and Speaking Connect. About Lalita Raman