Most of the articles and blog posts that I have read recently discuss, in some detail, the need for sellers to raise their game. They identify what this new salesperson will need to aspire to, if they are to survive, let alone succeed in the "new brave world"
Indeed, I have been discussing this myself for years, and only very recently I wrote:
"Finally, those salespeople who remain, will become genuine "business consultants, strategic orchestrators, and long-term allies"
The 2015 sales professional will not only be an industry expert, but also have a solid grasp of commercial issues, and as a consequence, they will speak the language of the buyer, not their own"
This is a clarion cry to all sales professionals everywhere ... "In today's world of selling, there is less and less room for apprenticeship. Selling has become an exclusive club of highly skilled professionals, where product knowledge and time management skills, for instance, are the cost of membership, not leadership.
Ongoing research demonstrates that today's 'average' salesperson is just as effective as the high performer in explaining features and benefits effectively, relating a service or product to customer needs and closing a sale. But, above this Level 1 plateau of competence, the exceptional salesperson is busy defining the "basic skills of tomorrow"
However, the stark reality is that increasing the quality and professionalism of our sales functions - and even our marketing functions - will not be sufficient to guarantee success. Organizations who ignore their existing customers, whilst pursuing exciting new opportunities, are doomed to failure - fact!
Now, more than ever, it is time to "love the ones you are with" to quote my colleague Colleen Francis. But how?
Customer care programs come under a number of titles - customer services; customer satisfaction; customer focus; customer orientated etc.
Their common theme is meeting the customer's requirements and ensuring that all aspects of the business contribute to customer satisfaction. The intention is to build repeat business. If customers are satisfied with the product and the standards of service they receive, they will return again and again.
Inconsistent Customer Care
Inconsistent customer care performance can have a negative effect on customer perceptions. Petrol companies, for example, know that every time a customer walks into one of their outlets, wherever they are in the country, they should expect to receive the same standards of service. Nation-wide consistency is essential when customers are likely to visit multiple outlets - one poor performance can threaten the customer's perception of the entire operation.
What Is Customer Care?
Customer care is about addressing three sets of requirements:
These requirements are interrelated - i.e. it is more difficult to deliver consistently high standards in customer care, if the needs of both the organisation and the staff are not taken into account.
• Excellent personal service - feels valued, listened to, treated as an individual
• Products that meet expectations
• Encouragement to express views and give feedback
• Effective relationship with the organisation
• Problems and complaints are handled effectively
Effective management style:
• Suitable working environment - pay and conditions / tools for the job
• Relevant training to develop skills
• Career potential
• Clarity of role / job description
• Performance standards and appraisal systems
• Sense of involvement / value
• Open communication
• Rewards / Recognition
• Mission statement
• Corporate structure
• Feedback and communication systems
• Human and technical resources
• Demonstrated commitment
Only when we get all three elements right, can we consider that our organization is capable of delivering consistently high levels of customer service, and thus provide ourselves with a better chance of survival!