October 6, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Be of Service


In the past I have found ideas in The Costco Connection magazine for these discussions, and this week an article, “Making Customers for Life”, emphasized being of service to others. The practice of selling something to someone must be augmented by helping others. Being of service to others is a necessary add-on to business.
Today, prospects, and customers, want information as well as the end product or service that you have. Information is powerful but only if it is utilized by the person receiving it. As businesses we must provide information to the public in order to allow prospects and customers to make informed decisions about their buying.
This information must be easy to obtain and to understand. We must not hide facts from the public, nor should we make it difficult for the public to understand the pros and cons of the facts. Easy to find and easy to understand information should be provided to every prospect. We should have nothing to hide from anyone.
If this information leads the prospect to buy from us, both parties succeed. If it shows the prospect that either not buying at all, or buying from someone else is their better choice, the prospect should have this information. We must understand that the greatest product or service that we can provide is information, and the information must be such that others can actually use it.
We must also provide means for our prospects and customers to ask us questions. Perhaps we have not covered everything that someone could want to know about our businesses or what we offer. We must allow the public the ability to ask us whatever they want to ask, and we must be forthcoming with the information that will make the customer buying experience an informed one, no matter who gains their business.
Previously we have discussed customer surveys. I received a request from one of my providers this week that I provide feedback on a recent transaction. The format was one of questions with a rating scale from 1 to 5. On several questions I wanted to use an answer below 1, and on some others I wished for the ability to utilize an answer above 5. At no place were my comments requested.
It is very easy to complete a survey with this type of rating system, or one with yes or no questions, and it is also very easy to compile the results. However, there must be a place for the person completing the survey to express whatever they believe are the most important points. It may be difficult to score, but narrative surveys provide the real thoughts of your customers. Isn’t that what you want and need?
Your clients, who actually want to give you information, good or bad, will be active in doing so. They will find a way to gain your ear. If you make that difficult for them, the compliment that you would really like to hear may turn into a complaint about your bad listening skills. The suggestion that may turn your business into a more profitable organization may be lost forever. The client who has a valid concern may leave.

Being of service to others will never cost you more than you gain back. It may allow you to help others make more informed buying decisions or it may allow you to hear either compliments or complaints, both of which should help you make your business better for everyone. Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

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