Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Handling the warranty service

When the company offers an extra warranty for the product, it makes a promise that the product is so good, that it will surely serve you at best even for a longer time.

In 90% of the times it will indeed be the case. But 10% of customers will come to ask for a repair service.

The way we behave in this situation has a strong impact on our future relationship. Much stronger than the behavior we showed the sales process. Handling on a repair service request is very delicate. The customer is unhappy that the product broke but trusts you enough to believe that you will fix the problem.

In this very moment, be competent and show empathy. Apologize for the inconvenience and time required to visit, take a look at the problem, ask for details, make pictures if required, inform the customer of the following process. Make sure he/she receives a confirmation of the handling.

Reinforce their belief that you will solve the issue: maybe you will repair the product, offer a substitute for the service time, if not repairable offer a new product or reimburse the money. As always make the extra step. If the case is extraordinary, be brave to offer an innovative solution.

Create a security feeling for the client. Assure them that everything will be taken care on. Reward their trust. They will appreciate it a lot.

It is easy to make a promise. Make sure you can deliver on it. Put in place a simple process, which is known to all the members of the team. If you handle a difficult situation nicely, your customer will leave even more loyal than before.  Take the situation as an extra chance to impress the client.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Product A or Product B. The decision belongs to your heart

Sometimes people come into the store, tell about their needs and preferences, you show them a product and it fits 100% with the expectations. This is love from first sight… It happens quite rarely though.

More often we ask some questions, show a product, listen to feedback, ask additional questions, show few alternatives and here comes the moment of choice.

There are 2-3 options to choose from, and the choice is not always easy. The clients like the available options for different reasons but can buy only one item at a time. Although we know that price is not the most important motivator to buy,  at this point most of the customers ask about it. It is used quite often as a filter to make the decision faster. But what if the prices are the same, or the differences are too small to impact the decision?

Surprisingly most clients would say “Oh, that does not make the things easier”
I always tell the client: “Now, you may choose with your heart”. And we go again through the benefits of the product.

The situation where price is not a differentiator allows the customer to choose more emotionally, to choose a style which indeed fits their personality better.

Unexpectedly for many it is a challenge, because it means that the purchase will disclose more about who they are, and not how much they can afford to pay. 

Our job is to help the client discover what will they really appreciate about the product, and which benefits will make them happier about the choice: is it their friends compliments, is it the shared message about living sustainably, or belonging to a certain group, or standing for some values, or is it the pure functionality of a product, which is critical in certain circumstances.

Customer service is about the emotions and empathy. We must help the clients to find a product which goes in line with their current or desired lifestyle
Because we know our products and their positioning the best, we are there for the client to share our competence and help them make the choice. Please make sure you avoid the boring and confusing: “This fits you well, and this also fits you well”. Take time to listen and understand the person in front of you. The goal is to present the products in such a distinctive way, that the clients can peek the best one for themselves without the support of such an unexciting filter as price.

The customer should leave the store in love with the product, whether it was love from first sight or the one which needed a bit more time to be discovered.  

Are you already a registered client?

Data becomes a big instrument in influencing the connection between the brand and its customers.  Simultaneously, clients become more concerned about sharing their data, and thus allowing brands to create a noise by entering their private space: be it by a newsletter, sms or traditional post.

Achieving a high percentage of buying customers to sign in for a loyalty program and give their data is a very important KPI in retail. Basically, the loyalty program becomes one additional product to sell. The teams get special training on how to offer the program to get as many consents as possible.

There are three groups of customers we mostly deal with:

      1. People who are not interested in the program because they “are not from here” or they are living far away and do not come around very often. Basically, what they tell you is that the purchase today is rather an “accident” because they fell in love with one specific product, but they have no real connection to the brand and are not interested in developing one.

      2. People who are enthusiastic to sign into the program and are willing to be contacted. “Yes, sure. Let’s do it!” They are excited to become part of the family, to belong to the brand community. These people are the core group of very loyal customers- whether they already spend a lot or not.
   a. Either these clients feel very comfortable with the overall brand promise and know that they will certainly come back enough times to enjoy the benefit of the loyalty program.
   b. Or maybe this is their step up into the next price category, and they feel excited to belong here. Even if they buy just one product at a time they will be good ambassadors for the brand, and most probably they will buy more in the future.

      3. People who are “down-shifting” customers, because they are normally shopping in a higher price segment. The typical reply to the question if they are already registered customers is: “No, and I do not need it” They are so concerned about their privacy, that none of the benefits sounds attractive enough to them, in order to share their data.  

The reaction to the loyalty program offer is a signal of the attitude and future plans regarding the reconnection with the brand. It becomes a strong segmentation instrument, which allows as to act accordingly to the most benefit of clients and the company:
1. Make sure your accidental customers have a sparkling memory about the store, so that they positively recall it even after a long time, and are willing to pay you a visit again, when passing close by.
2. Reconnect with your loyal customer with customized messages and offers, to show them you respect they time and attention, and address them only with useful information. Make belonging to you “family” a rewarding experience. Take care of your connection
3.  Convince the downshifting customers, that you are a great value for money, and a wonderful location to shop for presents and souvenirs. Show them the top range of your products to make them curious. Even if they do not register, make sure you are top of their mind when they will be looking for something “easy-going”

Not every customer will become a loyal, top-value customer, but everyone deserves a customer-service customized to their needs. If they feel that you understand them, they will be grateful, and in most of the cases will come back, whether registered or not.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Is everything good?

"Is everything good?"
Have you noticed that this question is quite often just a formality?  Same as "How are you?" The person actually does not worry about your wellbeing. He/she is rather polite and expects a "Fine. Thank you. And you?"

Recently we had a hotel manager approaching us during the dinner to ask if everything is good. To his surprise we actually had some things to share...:)

We shared both: the points of admiration, and possible points of improvement. First 50 seconds he seemed curious. But that was probably the limit of his attention span...

He started looking how the waiters are performing their jobs, looking at the customers sitting at further tables to make sure he can catch them for a polite chat, etc.

Amazing! Finally you get a client, who wants to take time and share his/her opinion before publishing  it on Tripadvisor, or other online media! But somehow you are not excited about it. Because the initial plan was to make a walk around all the tables in 3 minutes, and suddenly you have already spent 4 at the very first.

When we ask a question let's be prepared to hear and actively listen to an answer.
  • Be open to hear the feedback
  • Take time to ask for creative ideas
  • Take time and consider the reasoning behind 
  • Be engaged
  • Ask Why? How? What if not? 
While collecting all of the information, you  obtain a bunch of more specific questions to ask your other guests. This helps you test if the concept voiced by the first clients is a unique case or it  builds up into a trend.  

This is hands-on market research. 
Extremely cost effective and time saving.
It allows you solving multiple issues before they become troubles. It allows you coming with new concepts, inspired from your customers. And what is going to make them more loyal, than knowing that the way you are today is thanks to the ideas you shared last time? 

It may be more time consuming than just a polite chat, but it will result in a tangible impact, rather than a "check mark" on your To-Do List. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Parents dining

Many young parents will tell you that they forgot what it means to have a romantic dinner, or even what it means having a slow and relaxing one.

Dinner becomes the equivalent of consuming enough calories to play the next few hours with your kid before getting him/her to sleep.

The time you have to enjoy equals to the time the kid eats- about five minutes. After that you start changing: first you play and your partner eats, then the other way around J

Imagine my surprise and gratitude, when few days ago as the little one happily told us that he finished eating, and escaped from his chair, he was met by the restaurant staff who started showing him around and playing with him. As I approached to them the magic words followed: “Don’t worry, he is in good hands. Please, enjoy the dinner!”

WOW J I have never before heard such a message. This is when I thought that somebody geniunely takes care about the parents, and their small special moments. And it does not matter at all how long were they able to entertain the little one, the mere intention is just priceless. Thank you!