Like most people I ritually delete my junk mail without looking at it. On occasions it is pointed out to me that I have deleted an important email or invitation that just happened to fall foul of the companies spam filters. My general response to this is - if it is important they will phone or resend the email - which will obviously go straight into my junk / spam folder to be deleted without reading!!!
Having said all of that I happened to spot this title to an email that captured my interest - Customer Service WOW! vs Customer Service Woe - so uncharacteristically I read on.
It was a short interesting blog piece that summarised in a few paragraphs the mistakes that most companies make in their drive for business growth, which I summarise as follows:
Apathy towards most existing customers
Over enthusiasm to winning new customers at any cost- mainly the service offered to existing customers.
The advice offered for WOWing your existing customers was direct and to the point.
1) Do what you say you're going to do.
2) Be nice.
3) Do it when you say you're going to do it.
4) Be nice.
5) Do more than you say you are going to do.
6) Be nice.
At MacLellan Rubber we do all of these things and more to demonstrate our commitment to quality of service and that we are a worthy supply chain partner.
However, and there is always a but or however, doing all these things comes at a price, and competing in a market that looks at the product price ahead of anything else, and often places the order based only on that factor doesn't, leave room for many of the niceties in business.
My realisation then was that the article was referring to business's that interact directly with the public and given the power of social media not WOWing customers was tantamount to business suicide.
Do the same rules therefore apply in B2B relationships? For actions 1, 3 and 5 the answer is an unequivocal yes.
As for being nice - I am not so sure. For my colleagues and myself being nice is a character trait we can't change, and I honestly believe that that trait permeates through our business and our actions.
Does it win us business yes - Does it win us all the business we would expect - I don't believe it does.
Being nice we offer technical advice and product support; provide technical solutions; resolve customer production and application issues; recommend actions etc, etc - all free of charge, gratis and at our cost.
The realty of doing all these nice things is probably a 2 - 3% order attainment. The bulk of the resultant orders going to our competitors who invest in none of those nice things and can consequentially offer the product solution we have identified at a lower price.
My conclusion - WOWing your customers is good business practice and should be straight forward. Getting the right return on your effort is a more difficult challenge.
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