My idea today is something that came up in a conversation I was having, with a client and their team, about the expectations of customer service, or taking care of account relationships. A line that came out of that conversation is that you can deliver care without cost, if you're in the business development, customer service world.
So many people that I work with are trying to think of ways to do things, or give things that let a customer, or even a prospect, know that you really care and value their business. I want to make it simple for you, and I want to make it low financial impact. One thing you have to remember is you cannot buy loyalty. The moment you think that what you give makes someone committed to you, or loyal to you, is your first step in being greatly disappointed at some point in the process. Because the only thing that has to happen is your competitor has to decide to spend more, give more, and all of that loyalty is down the tubes and gone forever. Get out of the idea of buying loyalty.
The second thing I always ask people to do is avoid, what in my mind, might be the worst sales line EVER. and ever. The line I'm referring to is, "I am here to always exceed your expectations". That is just opening the door for being abused and devalued, no matter how much you think it's doing good for you, and your show of professionalism. You have no idea what their expectations are, and if you give them the opportunity to be completely unreasonable, you can't be ticked off or upset at them when they take advantage of it. So my advice, to deliver care without cost, is stop opening the door to being ticked off at someone for doing something you didn't tell them they couldn't do. Sounds convoluted, but stop giving them the I'm here to exceed your expectations every day. That's insane.
I think you've got to be consistent. You've got to set standards and parameters, but we should also know this, and this is not an original thought from Charlie Hauck. I learned this, 30 years ago, from the guy that trained me. People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. So if you think teaching people for free, gets you business, or builds loyalty, or expresses customer care, rethink that. If you can't deliver it in a careful, compassionate, personally connected manner, it's just a bunch of information that they can use to go buy from someone else. I think that actually was a Century 21 tagline in the 70s or 80s, but people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Take care of people first.
My last comment is it costs nothing to ask one more genuinely interested question. So when someone tells you something, ask about it. Continue the conversation. Dive deeper. Can you tell me more about that? That sounds important. You've got a good reason for thinking about that. Can you share with me what it is? Why is that what you asked about first? Those show one you're listening to you care, and three that you're committed to hearing it from their side of the story, not your sales driven response and reaction.
Get out of the model of let me tell you why you need to know what I know, and get into the customer care model of I don't know what you need until I know what you're dealing with. Be a better listener before you're a better answerer. That may have sounded ugly, but trust me it works. Low cost, no cost customer care begins with questions. Take care, everybody, and have a great 2023. Go make money.