Dave this really makes sense. I would much rather be the one to find out a customer is unhappy and have a chance to correct the problem. It would be awful to never hear about it and have them telling others about their disappointment. Thanks for reminding me about taking that extra step.
Turning your already stellar customer service into more sales
See how to use your already excellent customer service to increase your sales!
Do you provide a service or sell a product? Do you warranty your work, or guarantee your product or services? If so you should be using your warranty to generate sales for your business, both upfront when you initially sell your wares, by having a warranty, and later at the end of your warranty, by actually servicing your product. Instead of dreading the call or email that your product is not functioning properly and hoping you don’t hear from your past clients about anything bad, be proactive, contact your clients and ask; how is the flibbertigibbet we installed working for you Mrs. So-and-so? (Or whatever you actually sell, I haven’t seen a flibbertigibbet in years)
When was the last time you purchased something, anything, and at the end of the warranty period you were contacted to make sure that what you spent your money on was performing the way you thought it should? I regularly get calls from people trying to sell me an extended warranty, but never have I had any of them ask if I was happy with what I bought in the first place. Wouldn’t that be a nice experience though; to feel like someone cared about the product or service they sold you and that they wanted to make sure it was working properly? Wouldn’t you be more likely to buy from this provider again?
I’ve been a remodeling contractor for almost 20 years, and I too used to dread the call that something was wrong and needed to be fixed, we take great pride in our work and the quality we build in to every project, it was a slap in the face that something was wrong, or so I thought. There are at least two positive aspects to the opportunity to provide warranty service: First, you have the chance to learn what does not work the way you thought it would, and thereby improve your process and overall quality, and second, you have the opportunity to demonstrate to your client the great customer service and quality you provide, again. There are lots of studies out that examine the cost of obtaining new clients vs. the cost of keeping existing clients; can you guess which costs less?
I recently called a client whose job we had finished a year earlier, to see how it was holding up, and to make sure they were still happy with everything we had done for them. Truthfully there were a couple of problems, nothing major, but not quite right either. They may or may not have called us to let us know they were not at their happiest, but they hadn’t yet, so I hate to think what may have happened if we had not reached out to them. We scheduled an appointment to take a look at the problem areas, and determined that this was indeed a warranty issue and that we would schedule the repairs the following week. Then they said those famous words, “While you’re here, could you look at…” in short, one day’s worth of warranty work turned into seven days worth of paid projects, and we kept a happy client to boot. These same clients are now talking about a kitchen remodel, more like 3 months worth of work and a great project for great clients. Sweet!
So you might find yourself thinking; but what about me, how could this apply to what I do? That’s just great Dave, you guys have the opportunity to screw all sorts of things up, come back and fix them and look like heroes. I’m just a (fill in your profession here). So I have some thoughts.
Say you are a web designer, you build a website, get it up and running, it works, you have it all set up so your client can maintain their own content, upload their own photos the works, your work here is done. Good job! Build into your initial scope of work a free review after six months or a year to ensure things are working properly, throw in a few hours of “free” refinements to make sure their site is at it’s best, so they will be sure to take you up on your offer. (Either allow for these costs in you initial budget, or consider it a marketing expense) After the appropriate amount of time has elapsed contact them to schedule their review, make sure you get to meet with them, get their feedback, maybe make some minor adjustments, and then come up with some suggestions for ways they could enhance their site. Maybe there is a slick new social media application you could add to their site, some new tabs, add an e-commerce function, what have you. You have already proven that you can do the job, you care about the product, you care about customer service, and you are trying to find ways for them to make more money. Of course they’ll buy from you the next time they need something, who wouldn’t? They will certainly tell their friends.
As I’m writing this, I can hear some of you now saying, “But Dave how do you warranty (your product or service here), and granted if you make pizza or something else consumable you probably don’t want to see what it looks like in a year, or six months for that matter, but the rest of you why not? What’s that? You say you’re a graphic designer? Check back with you client, how is that logo you designed for them working, maybe show them a cool new idea you had for their business cards, then sell them a full stationary package. (I know it’s probably not quite that simple, but you get the idea.)
The applications are almost endless, for using your already fabulous customer service to generate more sales, just by taking care of what you already sold.
Learn more about the author, Dave Maxum.
Comment on this article
Posted by Jeri Lucas, Kirkland, Washington |
Oct 13, 2009
Posted by Alan Alabastro, Redmond, Washington |
Mar 23, 2010
Any excuse to reconnect with a client is good. Personally, I love it when a vendor calls to check up on me (not an e-mail). I'm definitely more willing to give them work, even if I don't have it high on my priority list. Great article, Dave!
Posted by Dave Maxum, Seattle, Washington |
Mar 23, 2010
You are too kind!
- customer service
- warranty service