In towing service and other businesses, customer experience is everything. The customer is always in control. For those in customer success and customer service industry, they know the importance of ensuring pre- and post-sale experiences across a customer are all aligned. However, there is more than that. There are other important skills that shape the way a customer decides to do business with a company. Depending on your products and services, there are most common and important skills that must be treasured, and include the following.
At its core, having patience defines the ability of being able to regulate your own thoughts and emotions. Even at times you are faced with high stress and a lot of uncertainties, in customer service industry, patience is key. However, in a world fueled by technology and personal gratification, patience continues to dry by the day. Both customers and those serving them are used to expending nearly everything they do, making quick decisions in the process, and this is not the right approach to do things. You need to approach customer interactions with a relaxed and thoughtful manner, and if you do so, it becomes easier for you to overcome obstacles without compromising on quality of a service.
In some cases, it is important you follow due process. However, more often than not, too much process can have an adverse effect on customer conversations. When we put processes before people, we stand to lose site of the end goal. The main goal should be to help customers achieve their desired outcome. If you want to thrive in customer success role, you must learn to be flexible in everything you do. Rather than viewing customer success as a narrow path, you need to consider all ways in which you can help a customer and chose a path that best suits the needs of each customer.
When a customer reaches out to your company for support or advice, they want you to help them and they want to feel heard in the process. You can celebrate their success and show genuine concern when things are not going according to plan. These small things can make a big difference when it comes to satisfying customers and making them feel valued. You need to remind yourself how you would want to be treated if you were the customer. You need to develop a level of mutual understanding to understand customers from their perspective.
At the end of the day, customers are looking for one thing, and that is a reliable, efficient service. This is not to mean you should grab a quick fix approach just to get a job done. Efficiency in customer interactions involves determining the most effective systems for helping customers arrive at a desired outcome. It requires creating a careful balance between timeliness and commitment to satisfaction. One of the most effective ways to streamline interactions is through provision of prompt and productive services. This entails taking time to know your products and industry very well.
Customer touchpoints are interactions between a business and its customers that occur during a buyer journey. You might be running a towing service business and set different interactions on how customers have to deal with your business. These touch points represent important interactions that occur along a customer journey. Grouping them chronologically paints a complete picture of an average customer experience with your business. These moments significantly influence customer experience as well as brand perception. By outlining key touch points on map, businesses get the chance to capitalize on timely opportunities to optimize their customer journey. Customer touchpoints are normally recorded on a customer journey map and are put together on a chronological manner to demonstrate what a typical customer experience is like with a business.
Doing so helps marketing and customer service teams in identifying touchpoints that cause friction so they can remove them and enhance customer journey. Here are some notable examples of customer touchpoints you need to consider.
Social media could be included in every section of this list. However, its best use is in customer acquisition. This is because social media is a cost-effective way if reaching to a larger portion of your target audience. You can use the same to promote products, build relationships with other clients and enhance the overall reputation of your brand.
Have you ever notices banner ads that are displayed at the top of a sidebar of a webpage? Those are touchpoints that take prospects back to a specific website. They represent important touchpoints that businesses can interact with. Aside from ads, we also have digital marketing content. This refers to any material that your company published online with the aim of promoting a brand. These materials could be promotional videos, infographics or even engaging with blog posts.
If you are on a marketing or sales team, chances are that you might have attended different promotional events and conferences that were aimed at introducing new products or services to the market, or promoting a brand. All these events represent an excellent way to introduce your brand to customers who are not aware of the same. Take an example of INBOUND where companies from all over the world meet to discuss issues related to marketing, sales and customer service, as well as other business topics.
It is no secret that customers trust peers over other forms of advertising. 83 percent of customers say that their friends and family are the most trusted sources of referrals. This makes it quite imperative for businesses to place a huge focus on word-of-mouth marketing if they want to be seen as trustworthy. Even during purchase, there are other touch points as well. The most direct point of contact you have with your customers is your in-person interactions. All the conversations that take place in your stores have an immediate impact on the purchasing decisions that customers make. Always choose the touchpoints that work best for you.
Every business is out there looking for new customers. If you cannot keep your customers, your marketing efforts will not mean much. Companies should take their time to build customer relations to build chances of referrals. More referrals mean you will spend less money on marketing and get better profit margins. To retain customers, you need to connect with them effectively. Here are some of the tips to help you connect with your customers more effectively to keep them.
Get to know them
Take your time and find out more about your customers on a personal level. Build your relationships with them. Tell them about yourself to encourage them to disclose their hobbies, interests, online habits, shopping patterns, or any other information you could need to improve their experience. Conduct market research or just send them a survey to fill. Listen to their feedback and read their reviews. Act on this information to improve their experience. Profile your typical customer demographics and use this knowledge to improve your product or services and also tailor your marketing content.
Keep them informed
Keeping your customers in the loop can help you create a special connection with them. Let them be the first to know about that upcoming promotion, a new product/service, or just the latest blog the moment you publish them. Have them sign up for a newsletter and introduce push notifications for their devices. Use tools like Hootsuite and MailChimp to update them on digital media. Keep them posted on anything that adds value to them.
Offer excellent customer service
Many customers fail to complete a transaction if they encounter poor service. Some will even abandon your business if they repeatedly face poor service. Social media has created a channel for customers to vent their frustrations on brands with poor service. If all that customers see online are complaints about the quality of your service, they will not want to do business with you. Respond to your customer’s queries promptly and act on their feedback.
Personalize your business
To build a connection with the customers, look less robotic. Interact and engage with them in a friendly manner. Encourage your staff to interact with the customers with warmth and treat the employees well so that they can wear genuine smiles. Give your business a warm, friendly, and fun persona and let it guide your brand’s engagement online and offline. Build a brand manifesto with values and purpose and genuinely engage in charitable activities aligning with these values.
Today, it is very easy to get lost online even for businesses. Go out and meet potential customers offline too. Set up face-to-face meetings and attend networking events to create more meaningful connections and relationships.
Customer retention is critical for any business growth. There is no point in looking for customers if you keep losing them. Looking for ways to build better relations with them will see you increase sales as happy customers are likely to be your brand ambassadors and recommend you to potential customers.
Culture is one of the most critical issues in a business for long term growth and sustainability. Business that have a strong company culture perform better than those don’t have. Many organizations often look at higher turnover rates and are convinced that the issue with low revenue is as a result of the quality of their workforce. However, that is not the real cause of turnover rates. High turnover rates as well as operational issues may be a reflection of bad company culture. To fix an organizational culture, you must start from the top. There are several ways corporate leaders unwillingly erode trust and create a toxic company culture.
Encouraging Hasty Hiring
A bad hire is not good for any company. Some veteran staff will be force d to work a little bit harder to carry bad hire dead weight, and few established teams want to adopt new member who doesn’t add any value to company culture. While it might be a little bit tempting to cut corners as far as recruiting for positions is concerned, it is never a good idea to fill in some positions that quickly. There will be far too much at stake, so never take chances with new hires. There should be a comprehensive company-wide background screening policy so as to mitigate the risks and verify information that candidates provide before making a hire. While screening for future employees, always do so in a way that correlates to their prospective duties and responsibilities.
Showing blatant favoritism
Awarding a favorite employee with promotions and bonuses and leaving others out may be a huge recipe for chaos. You should never ignore when a certain high performing employee breaks the dress code. You should never look the other way when a certain important team member keeps irregular hours. All these kinds of behavior will lead to a lot of frustrations to other employees and will leave some feeling neglected and unmotivated. Humans are innately biased so it is important to show leadership when it comes to making decisions. One of the best ways to avoid inherent biases is by practicing decision making across multiple and diverse platforms.
Bucking the spirit of teamwork
A company’s leadership might often mistake cooperation with collaboration. Cooperation involves individuals working independently alongside each other while collaboration involves collective work. Cooperation leads to individual achievement and this can breed unnecessary competition and contempt. On the other hand, collaboration create a culture of sharing where individual success is reliant on group success. Building a collaborative spirit starts by creating optimized communications. Having a central place for teams to collaborate, brainstorm and exchange ideas and keep track of progress is a very important thing.
Another key issue is encouraging gossip. Gossip is simply an element of human experience but it’s one that most managers frequently ignore. Depending on the gossip, and whether it is about personal or company matters, some managers may even engage in it. A certain amount of gossip will always exist. Managers need to work at preventing unnecessary rumors from spreading and ensure there are clear lines of communication to ensure matters are not taken out of context.
Many salespersons fail to create or win new opportunities because they lack enough knowledge concerning their business. They make the mistake of believing it’s enough to know their products or services to have just a tiny bit of sales acumen. Most of them even have a rehearsed script for overcoming objections. In the past, product knowledge enough would have been enough, but today, your dream clients have no interest in hiring just a salesperson. They want someone who can help them solve their business challenges. They are looking for a partner who can help them visualize a better future and guide them towards it. A salesperson who tends to recite product features and benefits is of no benefit.
Business acumen takes time and effort to acquire but does not necessarily require money or an Ivy League MBA degree. Here are some ways to improve your business acumen.
Read Business Books
The first step in acquiring business acumen is through mastering the fundamental concepts and vocabulary of business. Both topics have undergone extensive research and there are a lot of resources available, with extensive information being provided almost free. Business books are written by professionals and take many days of research. They contain valuable information you can use to improve on various aspects of the business. You need to read widely and from different fields such as Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg Business Week, Forbes, Fortune among others.
Find Company Tutors
They are many companies that offer free training and have a lot of resources aimed at employee development. Most people would love to help you understand the areas of expertise by showing off what they know. Company tutors may not be formally offered, but by the end of the process, you will have learned a lot of valuable information. If you need to develop a better understanding of financial reports, a good starting point is to go to the finance and accounting departments and ask staffers to walk you through the process. If you need help in understanding how people in operations think about certain business challenges, be sure to ask from the right departments.
You will probably have family members, neighbors, or acquaintances who have some expertise in different areas of a business. In most cases, these people will be happy to share their knowledge in areas of business you want insights on. Ask these people to mentor you and educate you on the areas you need guidance. They will most likely be flattered and excited to help you. Find a couple of these people who know about certain areas of a business, take notes and learn from their experiences. Never be shy to reach out for help and guidance.
Get formal education
If you are willing to devote some time, money, and mental resources, getting some formal education from universities and colleges can be a good starting point. The experience you get from universities can be full of fun, excitement, and externally rewarding on your efforts to build a business.
As a sales leader, your ability to develop and retain your sales rep is more important for the future of your company. The average sales professional turnover rate is 35 percent, and this is a dramatic number compared to the average turnover rate of all industries which is just 13 percent. When your sales reps are building the skills they need to feel prepared and successful in their roles, they are more likely to report job satisfaction and a feeling of being values by their employer. These are factors that make it less likely for them to jump ship.
Sales performance management
Sales performance management refers to the process of ensuring each member of your sales team is working to achieve organizational goals and objectives. A robust sales performance management process entails training, monitoring progress, and developing new skills for sales professionals. You need to establish sales performance management for the overall success of your team. Here are some of the reasons that show why it is such important.
Predicting future sales trends
Sales performance management tracking can help in providing valuable data that enables your organization to forecast future sales trends and employee compensation rates. This is more so the case for commission-based compensation structures. If a sales rep earns 15 percent commission for each deal they close and are projected to close about $100,000 in sales for the quarter, then the finance team can anticipate an allocation of $15,000 to pay out as commissions.
Allows sales reps to build their skills
High-performing sales teams are twice as likely to provide ongoing training to reps as compared to low-performing teams. A sales performance management plan helps in adding structure and accountability to your training process. In your sales rep development plan, you need to include tools such as; required training for sales enablement tools, informational interviews for sales reps within your company, supplemental reading from sales thought leaders, and any other relevant material.
Build stronger sales rep pipelines
If you have a structured performance management plan in place, your organization will have the framework to build a pipeline for sales reps with valuable skills, who can be very effective and efficient in driving sales for your company. You need to have clear and visible goals and incentives that are needed to build well-rounded sales professionals.
There are key steps and guides you can take to implement an effective sales performance management process. You will need to decide on the performance metrics you need to assess. Performance metrics should measure each task and activity concerning how well they serve overall business objectives. You also need to communicate objectives to your team and get them fully involved.
You also need to coach and develop your reps so that they can build performance improving skills. Many reps have identified skills they want to build and improve on. Have training in place to ensure they can build and advance on all those skills they need. Challenge your sales teams to always be current when it comes to seeking knowledge.