In our world of exploding social media channels and on-line ratings sites, customer word of mouth can be a far-reaching evaluation of the products and services of any company. In consideration of that fact, attention to an outstanding customer service experience should hold equal importance to the quality of the products being sold. And I believe that level of service starts at the beginning of the sales process.
While most companies like to advertise “amazing” customer service and “flawless” attention to detail when presenting their products and services, the reality is many times closer to “average” service and “questionable” attention to detail. To be fair, it’s not always easy to be responsive, patient and attentive when working with customers who may have unrealistic expectations. But managing those expectations from the start is the responsibility of the account manager, not the customer service associate whose job it is to ensure customer satisfaction AFTER the sale.
In the world of selling promotional merchandise, outstanding customer service has become one of the most important things that sets us apart from countless other competitors. The work of establishing a solid basis for total customer satisfaction begins when a product is first presented to the client for consideration. The following checklist represents some of the most basic things to consider before processing an order for branded merchandise:
- Establish type of event; client demographic; budget
- Discuss and record all client preferences for decoration method (logo size, placement, color)
- Present all options for special packaging or custom inserts (samples should always be shown to client for approval)
- Confirm timing for in-hands delivery date; carton labeling; ship method; freight cost
- Present and secure signed approval of art proofs for EVERY order
- Keep client informed of all steps in the order process until the order is delivered (when to expect art proof; when does production begin; when will order ship; when will order be delivered)
- Follow up with customer after delivery to get feedback
If a corporate customer comes to expect this type of service from their promotional products partner from the beginning of the sales process, those competitors who don’t offer that same level of personal attention may eventually be replaced. It’s not enough to be good – we should all be striving for customer service greatness!
Send me your stories of exceptional customer service and I will share them with my audience. Let that positive word of mouth begin here!
(Image via business2community.com)