If your company provides ongoing technical or on-site services to your customers, there is a good chance you are missing out on opportunities to build customer loyalty and sales.
Let me explain.
And, let’s do it by means of a 3 Act Play.
Act 1: Sam becomes our trusted service technician
Our business does a large volume of colour printing.
A few years ago, we purchased a high end printer. It produces beautiful, high quality, colour materials. It staple binds booklets. It is fast. It is versatile. It does not quite leap a tall building with a single bound, but it gets close.
The sales person who sold us the machine did a great job against stiff competition.
And then we did not hear from her again. She must have been off finding her next sale.
As the years went on, the parts on our hard working printing machine – we affectionately call it Jerry – started to wear out. Jerry was showing the signs of heavy use over a period of time.
And, during this time, we got to know and appreciate the guy who kept Jerry healthy. It was our service guy. Let’s call him Sam.
We could rely on Sam. He consistently responded quickly when we needed help. He started to treat Jerry like one of his family.
We trusted Sam, and appreciated the service that he provided. He was personable.
We liked Sam.
Act 2: It’s time for Jerry to retire
Eventually, Sam told us that Jerry had served us well, but it was time to find a younger printer to take his place.
Naturally, we contacted the company that sold us Jerry. (Sam was directly employed by this company).
The sales lady who sold us Jerry contacted us and, based on some phone and email contact, she provided a quote for a new model printer. She didn’t do much to impress us.
We approached another big brand printing company.
They absolutely wow’d us.
The sales person saw our printing records and thought, “Whoa, if we win this client, we are striking gold!” He came again to our office and brought his manager with him as well. He offered us the use of the machine for free for a period of time. He did a lot to impress us. He wanted the deal.
But, after thinking it through, we still went with our current printer supplier.
Because of the service that Sam the technician gave us.
We trusted Sam. We felt uncertain about the quality of after-sales support that we would get from the competing bidder.
It was the technical support that cemented our relationship with the printing company. It was not the sales lady who won the deal for the printing company. It was Sam.
Act 3: The moral of the story
So here is the lesson.
Once again, it’s about sales through service.
At the start of the customer relationship, your sales people will excite customers and get them fired up to buy your product. It’s a part of their job to give you good service to impress you. There is a good chance that you have invested in service training for them.
They then go on to get the next sale.
In many businesses, the key person or people that the customer is in contact with is technical support, whether face-to-face, on-site or by phone.
I have had face-to-face technical support by a very technical person. He eventually solved my problem, but I felt that he treated me like another problem to be solved, rather than a customer to be looked after. The same goes for on-site support that I have had.
The message is that your technical support team has an enormous impact on customer loyalty and on the likelihood of your company expanding its sales from the customer.
The challenge for this week is for you to review whether you are providing a true-end-to-end customer experience. Are you one of the majority of companies that spend a lot of time and resources on the front-end of the service experience, only to ignore the critical technical support/back end in terms of customer experience design, training and engagement?
The plot thickens when we understand that the technical support is often sub-contracted out to third parties. If this is your model, you must include them in your customer experience design and customer service training. If not, your company brand could be eroded by the actions of third parties who are less interested in customer service compared to making as much money from as few resources as is possible
A great end-to-end customer experience means that you have a team of Sams – people who provide great service at the start and continue it throughout the entire customer journey.
Until next time.