If you have ever spent any time in the operations side of a company than you know that every meeting the topic of sales comes up; and it should because without sales there aren’t any customers, and obviously without customers there isn’t a business. If anyone has ever seen the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross than you have probably heard the sales acronym ABC – Always Be Closing. It’s true no matter how many customers you have, no matter how much money you’ve made as an organization you are only as good as your last quarter, so you always need sales, you always need to be closing.
But it’s not enough, you also need ABS – Always Be Servicing; closing the deal and getting the sale might be the easy part, the real challenge is to keep the customer. How exactly do you do that? By keeping them happy; every company should be striving for great customer service, not just good customer service, but great customer service, because customers are the lifeblood of the company, without them your company will simply wither up and blow away like dead leaves off a tree in the fall. So how do you give great customer service? Well a great way to start is by answering the phone; I can’t even count how many times over the last few years I have heard people complain about companies that don’t answer the phone. While the technological revolution has been great for business, and has provided us with tools we couldn’t have even dreamed of 20 years ago, it’s also taken some of the personality out of our companies. People don’t want to talk to a computer; they don’t want to jump through hoops and have to listen to endless menus of options just to get to someone so they can ask a question. They want you to answer the phone. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying you can’t use technology or that you can’t use an automated system, but make it a simple one; Press 1 for sales, and then someone answers the phone, it needs to be simple.
Another important thing is know what is making your customers happy or unhappy; many companies miss the boat on this one, and quite honestly it’s not that hard to figure out what they like or don’t like about you, just ask them. CEM (Customer Experience Management) is a great tool in assessing the mood of your collective customer base, you can do this by creating a simple survey asking them what they like or don’t like, what they would like to see changed. Don’t just assume your product or service is awesome because that was what was ascertained in the boardroom, don’t fall prey to your own sales gimmicks; ask those that are using the product or service, let them tell you, believe me they will; you just have to be willing to listen.
Like I said sales is important, but customer service is equally important, don’t let your company blow away in the wind just because you didn’t pay enough attention to the customer after the sale.