Offering superior customer service is a desirable goal for any wholesale product provider, but why is it that few manage to actually deliver on this promise? Beyond uttering the basic greetings of hello and thank you, there are several customer care tactics that will significantly help your business and your employees produce superior sales performance when working with the public.
Customer Service – The Human Factors
First and foremost, a solid customer service approach requires being proactive with your customers. Being proactive in this case means going the extra mile, beyond smiles and other salutations, to an environment that exudes caring, sincerity, and efficiency, as well as expert product knowledge.
If you have employees, strive to make sure that they possess the same proactive zest for the company’s success as you do. This can be accomplished by having regular company meetings to get everyone updated on the latest developments and providing incentives for achieving high customer satisfaction.
Another important factor that is often missed in communication with customers is the ability to take the necessary time to listen and ask the right questions. It is common to see a sales person talking, and talking, and talking some more. However, in order to display active listening skills, it is essential to get into the mind of the customer to find out such details as:
What type of product are you looking for? Are you looking for a specific style, brand, manufacturing year, etc? Would you consider an alternative product having similar features?
By engaging the customers to specifically address their wishes, you will be able to gain their trust and respect, leading to a higher likelihood of a successful purchase.
The above points are very important for effectively engaging with customers. However, it is equally crucial to not come across as too aggressive, as there’s no doubt that we’ve all been turned off at times by a pushy salesman. So while it’s okay to push a little, try not to push them right out the door! The key is to tactfully observe when the customer is reaching a saturation point, and just before that, allow them some room to analyze what they’ve heard and seen, before agreeing to going ahead and finalize the purchase.
Customer Service – The Technical Factors
Customers hate to repeat themselves, and feel valued when we remember their preferences and dislikes. The good news is that you do not need to be a member of Mensa to remember every customer, you need only to take notes! Keep notes on any pertinent data that will make future interaction with your customers as personalized as possible. This information should be organized and readily available (at the tap of a few keystrokes), so that it is handy whenever a customer should call or visit.
Repeat customers will be highly impressed with the type of service they’re provided, as most other wholesale providers are not as detailed with personalizing and customizing their customer service. The time taken to enter and maintain a customer record will be worth it, and can be done with relative ease once the customer departs the store or hangs up the phone. If you have a wholesale e-commerce website, the customer profile section will provide a seamless method of collecting this practical information into a database for future use.
Bring It Online
Correspondingly, it is important to have an online presence, where customers can gain more information about your business and the wholesale products you are selling. Who hasn’t “Googled” a company before giving it a call? Most of us have, so it’s surprising that only 56% of small businesses have a website!
Since a website is a great marketing tool, push yourself to go beyond simply offering an online profile page, such as a LinkedIn or Facebook page, with just your business name, street address, phone number and email address. The professional look of a full fledged site vs. a simple page could make all the difference in attracting customers.
If you run the type of company that answers the same questions over and over, then consider adding a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page to your site. Moreover, include sections on your site for shipping and return policies and add plenty of testimonials from existing customers. Notably, when adding content to your site, keep in mind all of the customer service tips mentioned above, to create a true and consistent sense of helpfulness in describing your business offerings.
Also, you can grow your customer base by increasing your web presence, basically using simple steps such as targeting your local customers through the addition of your company to Google Places.
Remember, word of mouth is actually stronger now than ever. That’s because we have so many ways to easily communicate with a wide range of people. It takes only a few seconds to blab on Facebook about a bad customer service experience! Thankfully, it also only takes a brief amount of time to tweet or blog about a good experience! So, whether you’re dealing with one of your most lucrative customers, or a prospective client who is seeking a small purchase, always treat every customer as if they are your biggest and best.
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