Last time we talked we spoke about doing more with less. If you did take the time to go through your inventory, I’ll bet you took a lot of stock off your shelves. This time I think we should be doing more for your customer. I always have and always will believe that a happy customer makes a happy boss. And a happy boss leads to a much nicer life for me.
If you are like me, you are getting tired of hearing about how bad the economy is, correct? We all know it’s bad, some of us more than others. You know it’s no better for your customer. We are now going into the summer season; a time to sit back and relax? If you do air conditioning, you know the answer, but if not? Train for next year. Training leads to a happy customer.
A happy customer is more than someone who buys oil and service from you. Customers want to be involved in your business, and so should you because you need them. Remember, it’s always easier to find other service companies than other customers.
As an owner, one of the first things you need to know is are you meeting your customers’ needs? You and your employees may truly believe so. But it is what your customers think that should matter. The best way to find that out is to conduct a survey. Ask them if you are living up to their expectations, and if not, what you are doing wrong. You may find out that there are more products that they want from you. What a great idea, having a customer tell you what they want to pay you for.
If you are the customer service manager, are your people given the authority to “make it right with the customer?” Put yourself in the customer’s position, it’s easy because we are all customers at some point. Would you want to have to wait on the telephone while a customer service technician gets an approval from their supervisor or you? Or worse, imagine being told that someone will have to call you back. Giving them the power to resolve the situation, right then and there, makes a happy customer. It will also take away some of your workload. The personal touch is the most effective customer service technique you can teach your staff. If nothing else, have your staff get to know the customers by name. Good for you, good for the customer and good for the boss.
Once the service technician arrives on the scene, you need to interact with the customer face to face. This could be a deal maker or breaker regardless of how the customer has been treated by the office. I have said before that the first five minutes on a service call should be spent listening to the customer. I mean listening to what they have to say, not just hearing them. They know their system better than you do. If you know the customer’s name, call them Mr. or Mrs. or Miss. Unless you have a very friendly relationship with them never call them by their first name.
I want to close by saying to all company owners, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to train your employees. Imagine how much calmer your day would be if someone else could handle the stuff you don’t need to, on a daily basis. There are all sorts of training available for every facet of your business. This is May, the time of trade shows. Send some of your people to the classes given free at the shows. With no expense for the classes, you will get a return on the day by having a more informed employee. Think what a moral booster for the employee that the boss thinks enough of them to one of the shows.
Next month is June. How much oil are you selling to pool heaters this year? Why not start offering an alternative to your customers and making a profit at the same time? Come on back and see what I mean by asking your customers what you can do for them. In the meantime, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.