Sales Lesson #29: A Lesson in Customer Service — How It Really Works
This is a true story of how customer service really works.
It also is a good example of “giving” before you “get” in an attempt to establish credibility and to initiate the trust-building process.
Sampling Makes a Lot of Sense.
There is one question that arises more than any other these days: “When do we STOP giving away FREE information and begin charging our fee?”
My good friend and mentor Nolan Burris promptly replies with this advice: “After you establish value but before you do the work.” I agree with this advice, but I also realize that it is often easier said than done … just like everything known to man.
This can prove to be a delicate subject, and I do have my own thoughts on this. If you can stop multitasking for a few minutes and give me your undivided focused attention, I think you will benefit from what I am about to tell you.
There is a reason I put that picture on the top of this page. I will explain in a minute. But first another true story.
This one involves a gas-driven fireplace in my living room just outside of Cooperstown, NY. I arrived back “home” after spending the last four months in Florida (lucky me) only to find that my fireplace was not holding its “pilot light.” This is the mechanism that ignites the flame. I’ll try not to get too technical.
It was working when I left and I was growing more frustrated by the minute when it failed to respond to my constant attempts at ignition. Here is where the message begins.
I spotted the manufacturer’s label glued to the innards of the device and I tracked down the phone number of a local distributor. “Local” where I live means within a 75 mile radius.
I dialed the number realizing that I was seeking some “free” advice and direction.
A gentleman answered the phone. After I explained the purpose of my call his tone of voice immediately conveyed to me that he had little patience with “shoppers.” He suggested I contact his “other” store in Rome, NY where the servicing of such devices was more the norm. In not so many words, he invited me to “buzz-off.”
NOTE: If you think your initial phone tone does not set the stage for a comfortable communication, you better think again. I don’t even know you, and I can virtually guarantee that you shoot yourself in the foot more often than you think just by the way you currently handle incoming calls. If I am wrong, I apologize. (I’m not wrong.)
I dialed and found myself speaking with Scott. An entirely different experience was about to unfold. Scott listened to my opening remarks seemed to understand my dilemma. He asked me some pointed questions and assured me that I did not invent this problem. (By the way, I did not purchase this unit from Scott or his organization.)
He recommended a “fix” and I thanked him sincerely for his time and advice. That’s when he hit me with the WOW Factor! “I’ll hold while you give my solution a try.” As he implying that while I walked back into the living room, put the phone down, performed the task as he described, gave the unit a loving whack or two to dislodge any unwanted dust particles or cob webs, that he would be standing by on the other end of the phone to see if it worked? That is exactly what he was implying. Incredible! No …INCREDIBLE.
I did as Scott suggested. It did not fix the problem. That is when he said, “Well, it is almost 5 p.m. and I am about to leave for the day. Try it again and give me a call tomorrow morning and tell me how you did.” INCREDIBLE! Scott was buying into my relationship with a sincere interest to solving the problem … not making a quick buck from a stranger over the telephone. This guy was (is) the real deal.
Later that evening, I solved the problem, and I have every intention of calling Scott this morning before sending him a signed copy of my book titled Become The Exception. Scott truly already is the exception. Furthermore, if I ever hear the words “Gas Fireplace” I will immediately point the person toward Rome, NY and demand that they ask for a guy named Scott.
Now I ask you: Did Scott give away his time and expertise in favor of establishing credibility while planting the seeds for more good things to come? I believe he did. Do you think there would come a time when Scott would suggest, or recommend a contract or some service agreement to make sure that my wife would have both heat and ambiance on chilly upstate New York evenings? I would expect so. Would I think this highly of Scott if his first words were, “You didn’t buy it here so why are you calling me? We close in ten minutes.”
My point: Relationships take time. Credibility needs to be established. Barriers need to be broached. People (most people) recognize the real-deal when they see it. I hope you are “feeling me.”