The importance of building trust
In all customer facing roles, building customer trust is essential, it should be a maxim for all interactions with others, not just in business. It is key for a consultative sales person. Trust and respect are won by the way we treat people; being empathetic, showing interest and listening, thinking about the customers’ needs not our own. In a consultative sales situation this is critical; if the customer trusts you they are more likely to work with you, perceiving you as someone who can provide solutions to their needs.
Building trust to create customer loyalty
We have all experienced poor customer service and we know how it feels when we are not being treated well; in restaurants, in shops, or over the phone when we have a customer service issue etc. Ironically we are told to call the ‘Customer Service Department’ but so often there is no customer service. It is frustrating and annoying and does nothing to induce us to want to stay loyal to that service provider. In today’s competitive market place customer loyalty is critical for all businesses, B2C and B2B.
Effective customer service builds trust and loyalty
I was reminded of the value of being treated properly through good customer service recently when collecting a repair at a jewelry store. Like most people, I was in a hurry. I arrived to a shop full of people with only two assistants working. I was immediately, maybe unjustly, irritated, realizing that this would not be as quick as I had hoped. I was acknowledged with a warm smile, the assistant apologized that there was a wait and assured me that I would be helped as soon as possible. I waited, not so patiently, for about 10 minutes but despite this, when I left the store I was a satisfied customer already making a mental note to return should I have another ‘jewelry need’ on a future occasion.
Why? Well despite the initial inconvenience, I had received excellent customer service. They had done a good job, my jewelry had even been polished but what made the difference was the way I was treated. They were apologetic about the wait even though they could not really be held accountable for the fact that when I arrived they were busy assisting other customers. They established my needs. Understanding this, once they saw their existing customers were deliberating over their choices, they asked their permission to help me. They did this efficiently. As they handed back my credit card, I was treated to the same friendly smile, a further apology for the wait and was invited to call back when I was next in the area for a free cleaning of my rings. It made me feel good, that I would return, that I would recommend their store to others. I am sure the other people in the shop noticed their interaction with me for the friendly and sincere customer service it was.
Good customer service costs little but pays dividends
How much effort did this take? Very little and what was the result - a delighted customer. I had only spent twenty dollars but because of the way I had been treated, the good customer service, when I next need to buy a jewelry gift maybe I will be spending considerably more money in their shop.
Business is about people
We all respond better when we are treated well, good customer service pays and is important in all realms of business for it is about the way we treat others. Whether we are in sales or not ‘business is about people and 'people do business with people'.