August 11, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – After the Sale




Last week we discussed the customer buying experience, the journey that you and your customer take from the initial meeting to the completed buying transaction. We discussed how the buying experience must be enjoyable for the customer. If it is not pleasant, the customer will go elsewhere for their next purchase and will tell others how unhappy they are with the business process that you require.
I received several calls regarding what a business person can do to make the customer happy after the sale. How do your customers feel about their buying experience with you, and have you ever asked them? Don’t just assume; don’t say that you “know” how they feel? You must find out how they feel, and one of the best ways is to just ask them.
How do you ask the customer if they still like you after buying from you? There are several methods which we have discussed before. You can send them a survey, either in print, by email, phone, or snail mail to complete. Will the customer, specifically one which may be unhappy, be receptive to providing you answers to your questions? That is exactly the customer whose thoughts you want.
In addition, surveys have a tendency to be easy for the creator to create, simple to complete for the customer, and effortless to record when returned. However, do they give you the “real” mindset of the customer; will they provide you a snapshot of the situation that you can use to improve your buying experience if needed?
First, you must let the customer know that you appreciate their business. You must make the customer comfortable with the fact that you are honored that they chose you to engage for the solutions to their needs. They must know that you consider their business as a reward for your great customer service.
Then you must ask if there was anything else that you should have done, any part of the process that you should improve, and anything that you should not have done within the buying process. You are asking for the customer to provide their thoughts and beliefs, in a narrative form, to you to use in making your business methods better.
Narratives are more difficult for the customer to complete and more difficult for the business person to record. You must read the customer’s words and sometimes their thoughts behind the words. There is no form that you can chart, no multiple choice or true false questions for them to answer. The information that you gain can mean so much more. You just must plow through the narrative format and digest the meaning.

How do you get the customer to even consider completing a narrative survey? You must establish a relationship with them from the beginning of your interface with them, from before you actually market to them. If they are comfortable with your business, and with you, they will take the time to give you their thoughts on how they can assist you in making it better. They believe that you both want to help each other get better.

Do you have a good relationship with your customers? Can you ask them for their honest opinions of your buying experience? Can you “check your ego” so you will listen to them? Please can leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Let’s share our thoughts, practices, and even our failures so that we can make all of us better in business relationships. Can’t hurt, can it?

Last week we discussed the customer buying experience, the journey that you and your customer take from the initial meeting to the completed buying transaction. We discussed how the buying experience must be enjoyable for the customer. If it is not pleasant, the customer will go elsewhere for their next purchase and will tell others how unhappy they are with the business process that you require.
I received several calls regarding what a business person can do to make the customer happy after the sale. How do your customers feel about their buying experience with you, and have you ever asked them? Don’t just assume; don’t say that you “know” how they feel? You must find out how they feel, and one of the best ways is to just ask them.
How do you ask the customer if they still like you after buying from you? There are several methods which we have discussed before. You can send them a survey, either in print, by email, phone, or snail mail to complete. Will the customer, specifically one which may be unhappy, be receptive to providing you answers to your questions? That is exactly the customer whose thoughts you want.
In addition, surveys have a tendency to be easy for the creator to create, simple to complete for the customer, and effortless to record when returned. However, do they give you the “real” mindset of the customer; will they provide you a snapshot of the situation that you can use to improve your buying experience if needed?
First, you must let the customer know that you appreciate their business. You must make the customer comfortable with the fact that you are honored that they chose you to engage for the solutions to their needs. They must know that you consider their business as a reward for your great customer service.
Then you must ask if there was anything else that you should have done, any part of the process that you should improve, and anything that you should not have done within the buying process. You are asking for the customer to provide their thoughts and beliefs, in a narrative form, to you to use in making your business methods better.
Narratives are more difficult for the customer to complete and more difficult for the business person to record. You must read the customer’s words and sometimes their thoughts behind the words. There is no form that you can chart, no multiple choice or true false questions for them to answer. The information that you gain can mean so much more. You just must plow through the narrative format and digest the meaning.

How do you get the customer to even consider completing a narrative survey? You must establish a relationship with them from the beginning of your interface with them, from before you actually market to them. If they are comfortable with your business, and with you, they will take the time to give you their thoughts on how they can assist you in making it better. They believe that you both want to help each other get better.

Do you have a good relationship with your customers? Can you ask them for their honest opinions of your buying experience? Can you “check your ego” so you will listen to them? Please can leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Let’s share our thoughts, practices, and even our failures so that we can make all of us better in business relationships. Can’t hurt, can it?

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