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ISM Article

An Opportunity to Sell Your Unique Value: Customer Service

1 Jul, 2012 imageSource


When the economy becomes your enemy in selling your products or services, selling your value becomes more important. So we train the sales staff to talk about the company’s real value to a customer or prospect. We pay marketing firms to come up with catchy value statements and then we insert them into all the company’s marketing stuff from the website to Facebook to old fashioned printed material.

But are sales and marketing the only department that should be selling your value? Don’t overlook the ability of your customer service reps! I’m not talking about cross selling or up selling that are focused on new products or services that increase revenue. I’m talking about the value that builds customer loyalty and creates long term revenue from customers for life.

Example: Customer A has just called your Customer Service team to complain that your product has stopped working & they need it fixed SOON! Your customer service rep says:

“I can understand how you must feel. I will send a Field Technician to your site in 2-3 hours. I’ll follow up later to be sure the problem is fixed. Will this solution work for you?”

This is a great conversation. The service rep acknowledges the customer’s frustration, gives them a specific time frame for the fix, offers to follow up and involves the customer in the solution by asking if it works for them. BUT something is missing! The customer doesn’t know that 2-3 hours is a terrific turn-around time - nor do they know why the vendor can respond so quickly.

Let’s try that conversation again:

“I can understand how you must feel. Because we keep our service territories small, I can have a Field Technician to your site in 2-3 hours. The smaller territory allows us to service faster than most other companies and we know that higher level of service is important to you. I’ll follow up at 4pm to be sure the problem is fixed. Will this solution work for you?”

By talking about the smaller territory and sharing why that has value to the customer, the customer service rep has just positioned the company above their competition and cemented the customer relationship.

If your customer service reps aren’t clearly reinforcing all those built in value added qualities, you’re missing a unique opportunity to build customer loyalty. (And if the service rep is overseas you can’t count on them to introduce your value).

Reinforcing your worth when the customer is unhappy is more meaningful to the customer - your value becomes more than just marketing hype.
They can see literally and figuratively why your company is the best partner for them.

Areas to Add Value

Suggested service rep statement to support them:

Large inventory
“Because we maintain a $2 million dollar, 10,000 part inventory, we can have a technician with the part to your site by the end of the day and have you up and running today.”

Recent training
“That‘s a really tough problem, but because our technicians receive quarterly training, they are knowledgeable in the up to minute solutions so Steve will be there in 3 hours to fix the machine.”

Customization
“We’ve maintained a 30 year relationship with ACME and as an exclusive Gold Partner, our team receives higher level training on your equipment. We’ll be able to customize the equipment to your specific needs so you don’t have to send the equipment to ACME.”

Industry Specialization
“Tax law is very complicated Mr. White. But we have an entire team that specializes in tax law only and they will be very happy to guide you through the maize. When the firm was founded we realized that no one person can know everything, so to give our clients the highest level of service and knowledge, we chose to specialize.”

These examples are intended to get you thinking about the unique value you deliver. Not sure what that value is? Don’t turn to the marketing guy; he’ll come up with platitudes. So, think outside the company box.

Ask your customers what they value most! Get your employees to brainstorm a list of why they believe you are different than the competition.

Get real. Remember that value is in the eye of the beholder. It is only valuable to your customer if it furthers your customer’s personal goals or the goals of their company. After communicating with your customers, take their value answers and develop statements for each value for your customer service reps to use when talking to customers.

Turn a service call or customer problem into an action that drives loyalty.




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