Sounds obvious, but most of the time a Customer has more than one choice of company to buy from. Especially in the tourism and hospitality business when boy do they have a choice of where to stay and where to eat. It can almost be too much!
This got me thinking about how you can stand out from the crowd and the fact that to me customer service and sales are intrinsically linked.
Let me give you an example of how I make choices as a customer: Recently I was organising my 6 year old daughter’s Birthday party, something that seems to get harder every year. She wants something different and fun, I just want something as easy as possible that doesn’t cost the earth!
I narrowed down our search to three places and boy did the responses vary. A bit like the porridge from ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, one was cold, one was too hot and one was just right (well more or less!)
Here’s how they handled my enquiry:
Venue 1 – I had a reasonable email conversation with the owner prior to visiting the venue. When I did get there though, they didn’t even turn the lights on properly or take me down to show me the equipment. When I asked what the party would entail on the day she actually laughed at me and said she thought it would be obvious! This was my little girl’s favourite but there was no way I was booking there now. ‘People Buy People’ and I certainly didn’t buy into her! I didn’t feel valued enough as a customer and it gave me zero confidence in how the party would run on the day.
According to McKinsey:
“70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated”
Venue 2 – Were really nice and friendly and interested on the phone. I told them I would probably come down and take a look but no details were taken or appointment made! I did go and have a look on my own accord, but this bugged me too as I was a hot lead, but there was no follow-up or further interest in my business. I didn’t book here either as I didn’t feel it was right for my daughter when I visited.
“48% of sales people never follow-up”
Source: National Sales Executive Association.
Venue 3 – Were polite and courteous on the phone and although a bit automated in their questioning, did obviously belong to a company that had thought about their enquiry handling process and I felt that they were both interested and professional and would do a good job on the day. They followed up with details on an email and I booked. Not rocket science but they didn’t make the simple mistakes the others did that put me off!
The advice here is simple. Make sure you have at the very least a basic enquiry handling process in place that follows the right steps, covering aspects such as rapport building, questioning, needs and objectives and closing, or make time now to review your current process and the training requirements of your enquiry handling teams.
Don’t make it easier for your customer to choose your competitor. Customers have a choice, will they choose you?
What makes you decide to buy or not to buy from a company? Let me know your thoughts.