It's natural to want to learn positives (e.g. how to get more customers), but there's not much point in improvements (e.g. sales systems) if gains simply leak out of the business.
What do customers consider when choosing to buy? Looked at another way, why do customers NOT buy. A New York study by the Technical Assistance Research Program found the key negative factor was perceived indifference - customers feel that you couldn’t care less about them or their needs.
Of the top factors, price was second, accounting for 15% of changes to a competitor. Perceived indifference accounted for 68%. And these results have been consistent since WWII.
Does it make sense to spend money to win customers only to lose them through carelessness?
Only 15% of customers buy on price alone. Someone calls to ask "How much is your ?". You give a price. "OK. Thanks. I'll get back to you." And they call your competitors. If the only information they get is price, that's all they've got to decide on. People usually take this as the start of a discussion, but businesses so often treat it as an end. What exactly were they looking for - type, colour, model, when they need it, why the need it, ...?
Think about indifference you've received as a customer - a sales team keep talking and not serving you, a business that took forever to answer the phone, someone who put you on hold without asking or you kept being passed from one person to another and had to tell your story over and over.
Now comes the hard part. Look at your own business to find the areas perceived indifference might exist. Every business has it. If you didn’t, you would never have to worry about losing customers again.
Let’s look at common areas in which perceived indifference occurs.
1. Do you answer the phone on the second ring every time?
2. Does every caller get asked for permission before they are put on hold?
3. Do you make sure nobody is put on hold for more than 30 seconds?
4. Do people have an on-hold for more than 30 seconds?
5. Do you thank your customers or potential customer for calling?
6. Do you thank your customer or potential customer for visiting?
7. Do you thank your customers for buying from you?
8. Do you and your team always arrive on time for meetings with customers?
9. Do you and your team ever make your customer wait?
10. Do you deliver products or services when promised every time?
11. Do you always let your customers know beforehand if there’s a problem?
12. Do you always return phone calls the same day you get the message?
13. Does each team member take responsibility for helping customers? (Or do they hand off customer problems from one to another?)
14. Do you ask for more information from the customer when you are asked about the price of your product or service?
15. Do you always follow up with customers after they have purchased from you to make sure they are happy?
16. Do you stay in touch with your customer regularly?
17. Do you ever surprise your customers with a small gift?
18. Do you keep your customers informed about new things happening in your business?
19. Do you thank your “internal customers” (your team members) for being an important part of your business?
20. Any other points that may apply to your particular business.
Answering No to any of these points means you have an opportunity to start curing perceived indifference right now. You will be amazed by the results these small changes will bring to your business.
So complete the checklist and develop (and implement) an action plan to address the NO items.