Last month we had a momentous occasion in our household. Wyatt, who just turned one in February, graduated from his first ever survival training class with the Baby Seals Swim Academy.
We watched our little one transform from being unsure and uncertain of the water and of his trainer, to being confident and courageous in and under the water. He is now willing and able to jump in the water and kick himself right back up to the top where he starts to float on his back, even while being fully clothed.
What started out for us as a safety precaution due to the new pool in our backyard turned into one of the best decisions we made so far for our little guy. We want to continue to build his confidence and his skills.
Sign Me Up!
Of course after seeing this transformation in just four short weeks of lessons we wanted to continue encouraging him to learn how to swim so we talked to the instructor about the next step for Wyatt. She told us that he was definitely ready to move to the next step and that if he continued at this rate he would be actually swimming by summer. This only encouraged us more. We said “sign us up!” She replied by telling us that she would email us the information when the next class was ready to start.
When nothing arrived by the next week we contacted her again only to find out that the she was still getting the classes together and she would notify us as soon as she figured things out.
Another week went by with no email so we called again only to get the same answer.
Our enthusiasm is waning to say the least. We really like this instructor. The classes are near by and the cost is reasonable. In the end though, we want to be able to continue Wyatt’s lessons and that may mean finding another instructor who has their program laid out better.
This got me thinking, how many of your customers are eager to use your services only to find the process of signing up difficult?
Maybe You Can Lose What You Never Had
When customers call your office wanting to use your services do you make the process simple or is it like trying to take out a new loan? You should have a system that is easy to follow and understand and always be ready to explain to your customer “what happens next.”
This means that if you need to get their information so you can send someone to their house, than tell them. If after hanging up the phone a dispatcher will call them to tell them a tech is on the way, than tell them. If you need to get a credit card number from them before sending a tech for late-night emergency calls, than tell them. Lead them through your system.
Walk, Don’t Run, or Maybe Just Trot
When it comes to leading your customer through your system you need to slow things down, but not to a complete standstill. Things should always keep moving forward.
Think of the serpentine lines at an amusement park. You can see that the line is winding back and forth and you know exactly where it ends. You look forward to getting to the part where the misters go off above your head; cooling you off from the heat and humidity, while watching Sponge Bob cartoons or competing against your friends in trivia questions about John Wayne’s real name or how many Die Hard movies did Bruce Willis film.
You should be guiding your customers through your “line” the same way. It should be easy for them to tell when the end is near and when it is their turn, and maybe even a little entertaining.
Think Like Your Customer
So take some time to think like you’re a customer of your own business and ask yourself these questions.
- Does a live person answer the phone or do your potential customers get a voicemail system letting them know someone will call them back?
- Do they have a pleasant and understanding voice? Does it sound like they are smiling when they answer the phone?
- Are they really listening to what you are saying?
- Are they using your first name throughout the call?
- Do they sound like they are reading from a script or are they stumped if you ask them a question that veers from that script?
- Are they using common, everyday courtesies like “please” and “thank-you?”
- Do they repeat your information back to you in order to be sure it is correct?
- Do they ask “what is the best way to reach you?” in case they need to contact you?
- Were you kept on hold, and for how long?
- Do they say how much it will cost for the appointment and ask how you would like to pay?
- Do they tell you to call back or give you orders instead of doing it for you?
- Were they able to quickly look up records or locate your information?
- Do they tell you what they can do for you or did they tell you what they can’t?
- Do they book the call when the customer needs service?
- Did they use an appreciation statement and thank you for calling?
These are just a few of the questions you should begin asking yourself when evaluating your customer sales system. Creating a streamlined system with great customer service will help gain you market share through word of mouth marketing and strengthen your market position.