Symptoms:Abby prided herself on the level of customer service she delivered after the sale, and loved the loyalty her customers expressed to her. That loyalty also had a troubling side and it was beginning to show. She was having some problems in her territory and as customer base grew, so did the problems. Because of her history of being so responsive to their every need, many of Abby’s customers became dependent upon her and began asking her to do things not normally her responsibility. When she didn’t have time to deliver on these extra requests, Abby felt bad about failing her customers and they, in turn, began to express some dissatisfaction. Abby could see years of her good work in developing her territory slowly starting to unravel before her. Her best efforts were turning into the source of her biggest problems.
Diagnosis:Like many sales people that have to provide some follow-up service to their customers, Abby felt she couldn’t say “No” to any of their requests, no matter how insignificant or unreasonable. Her worry was that if she declined in any way, a competitor would step in and steal her customers away. And since she had put in so much time building the relationships and loyalty, that idea sent shivers down her spine. So Abby never learned how to politely refuse these requests that were now starting to overwhelm her. Abby needs to set boundaries and expectations with her clients as to what the limits of her personal service and support should be moving forward.
Prescription:Setting the proper expectations begins during the sales process. If a prospect insists that you are available beyond reasonable business hours, you may have to decide that this prospect won’t make a good customer. If that’s the case, then disqualify the opportunity. If you experience the situation Abby now finds herself in, you must stop the behavior by sitting down with the customer and politely explain that you need to set boundaries. And you must also take all of the blame for not having done so earlier. A sales person’s inability to set the standard for customer service after the deal is done means he/she will be the person responsible for these circumstances. And like most difficult situations, this one won’t get better by hoping it stops. You must do the right thing and address it with the customer.
We know it has probably happened, but share the craziest customer service story where you wished you had set expectations earlier in the conversation. How would you have changed that conversation?
Your Top 3 Goals & Tactics for the Week
Final Thoughts of the morning:
“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
― Donald Miller
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
― Bruce Lee
LAST WEEK: Update us on how things went last week with your stated Goals and GD Tactics.
THIS WEEK: Please share your Top 3 Goals for this week and the GD tactics you plan to deploy.