Do you know how to give customers what they want? You might feel like you do, but look at the world around you. Things in wholesale distribution are tough these days — and they’re getting tougher.
Traditional industry challenges like slim profit margins, poor interdepartmental communication, and lack of data accuracy are paling in comparison to new, non-traditional challenges such as disintermediation, technological transformation, and increased threat from competitors (both traditional and nontraditional). These challenges have left many distributors struggling to stand as the ground shakes violently beneath their feet.
Change is happening at such a rapid pace that c-suite executives are finding themselves distracted to the point of paralysis by analysis because of their inability to keep up with these new challenges, not to mention the unknown challenges that are yet to come.
The current pace of change has become so great, in fact — in this industry and others — that futurist Peter Diamandis predicted that 40% of Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist in 10 years.
To thrive or even survive in such a disruptive environment, it’s important that distributors find a way to innovate wherever they can in order to keep their customers happy and satisfied. Eroding levels of customer retention are a primary focus.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your customers satisfied, and maintain a high level of customer retention is to implement a Concierge Customer Service™ program.
The Concierge Customer Service Strategy
This simple but highly effective strategy entails taking 3 key steps to (1) offer high-level customer service to all of your customers, (2) provide an exceptional level of service — Concierge Customer Service™ — to your most profitable customers, and (3) ensure you have a high-caliber system to measure customer sentiment.
Doing so can affect your profitability dramatically by helping you:
- Increase customer retention, by serving your customers at the highest level;
- Clone your best, most profitable customers not only by generating an endless stream of referrals but also by providing your sales team with a business case for recruiting customers who are similar to your most profitable customers;
- Increase your conversion of prospects to customers, by generating 5 critical forms of social proof that will demonstrate you serve your customers exceptionally well; and
- Maintain continuous process improvement within your organization, by offering Concierge Customer Service™ and keeping your finger on the pulse of customer sentiment.
Giving Customers MORE
What does it mean to offer Concierge Customer Service™? It means giving your customers MORE, an acronym that denotes:
- Mindset — Those who handle your customer service should be lifetime learners with a growth (as opposed to fixed) mindset, patient problem solvers who can understand fully the customer’s problem, challenge, or goal and commit to solving the problem or helping the customer achieve the goal.
- Ownership — Employees should assure customers they will handle every issue personally and then do so, with no excuses, apprising the customer of each step/action along the way.
- Referability — Referrals provide gold to your business by allowing you to reach deep into your target market to “clone” your best customers, at virtually no cost.
- Experience — Continue providing a wonderful customer experience — by systematically measuring both (a) general and specific customer satisfaction and (b) customer loyalty — provides the key to distinguishing your business in the marketplace.
In today’s competitive market, a strong Concierge Customer Service™ strategy is essential to ensure conversion, retention, referrals, and ultimately profit. An innovative, customer-centric mindset that gives your clients MORE requires continuous process improvement and a high-caliber system.
Where do you begin to implement this type of approach in your company? In my next blog post, I will discuss how to put Concierge Customer Service™ into place for your team.
Dr. Jeanne Hurlbert, President of Hurlbert Consulting is an expert in sociology and survey research. After spending more than 25 years in academia, she now uses her extensive behavioral science expertise to help companies like yours distinguish yourselves through customer service. What sets her approach to customer service apart is that she begins by helping companies meld research and marketing to find out exactly (a) what their customers want and (b) how well they’re succeeding in giving customers what they want. To see how well you’re doing in knowing and serving your customers well, complete her complimentary assessment, just go to www.FixYourService.com.