Have you ever had to decline a customer request?
How do you respond when someone makes a request that is not normally something that you do? Do you instantly say no, not possible? Or do you take a moment to consider whether it is something that you would consider helping them with?
Rather than just saying no, consider saying that you will look into it for them and get back with a response at a later time. This has two benefits.
The first is that you show them respect for their request by not dismissing them instantly. This can have a far better lasting impression than a straight out no that leaves them unsure of where to go or what to do next.
Too many businesses refuse to stray from the straight and narrow and therefore miss opportunities that are lying right under their noses. They are too quick to say no, we don’t do that and leave the enquirer feeling dismissed with care and consideration. [Tweet “Too many businesses refuse to stray from the straight & narrow & therefore miss opportunities that are lying right under their noses”]
Even if you decide that the request is not something that you can deal with, you can go back and let the person know that you have taken the time to consider it, but it is not something that you can personally help with.
It may, however, be the case that you can refer them on to someone else who can help. This provides value to the person and also to any businesses that receive a referral, all of whom may remember you for your help in the future and feel the need to repay the compliment. There may even be an opportunity for starting up collaborative working with another business that will pay future dividends to you both. [Tweet “Look for opportunities to work collaboratively with other businesses that will pay dividends for both of you”]
The second benefit is that by considering requests that are outside of your normal remit gives you an opportunity to consider whether it is something that you could actually incorporate as a product or service into your business. This could become another revenue stream that you had not previously thought of.
We get all too caught up with our day to day running of our businesses and can sometimes not see the wood for the trees. By listening to requests, and dealing with them in the appropriate manner, we can find opportunities that may have otherwise passed us by.
Next time you get a request for something that you don’t currently offer, rather than instantly decline a customer, stop and think for a moment as to how you can turn it into a future opportunity for your business whilst providing great customer service at the same time.
I believe I have found a way for you to beat your competitors in a guaranteed way. This is just by delivering what you promise to do. Simples!!
I never cease to be amazed by the appalling service that so many companies still think is acceptable.
Just this past week I have encountered the following:
Laura Ashley promising delivery within 3 working days and yet 10 days later still no order received. Their customer service is non-existent with emails being ignored and a wholly incompetent customer service representative on the other end of the phone when I eventually got through.
I have booked flights with British Airways and encountered numerous problems on their site when trying to enter Advanced Passenger Information and reserve seats. Again, emails ignored until I took to social media. I then get an email telling me to follow the links on the website. But they don’t work! This was followed by no less than 8 failed attempts to speak to them by phone as after following the automated service it either went to a constantly engaged tone or cut off altogether.
I went to enquire about a new car from Nissan only for the salesperson to say he would email what they had and the prices. Why? I was there in the showroom potentially ready to buy. Was it because I was a lone woman and he didn’t believe I was serious without a man by my side? I emailed Nissan to complain about his attitude, got an automated response saying someone would be in touch within 48 hours and never heard from them again. Appalling!
Finally, a dodgy estate agent who is lazy beyond belief waits until the last minute to negotiate with the vendor on items he promised to do on day one. He then uses the cop out line that the vendors have changed their mind. I have reason to believe he lied through his teeth to get the sale and was just too incompetent to do his job properly. Suffice to say, when I come to sell in the future, this agent will be last on my list.
All of these instances I wish I could say were rare but are unfortunately all too common. Tradesmen who don’t return calls, or who come and give an estimate never to be seen again. If they don’t want the work, just say so. Cleaners who come to the office full of promises of how good they are only to leave a half done job that has to be redone. Financial advisors who promise information to be sent only for them to have to be chased continuously.
So if you want to beat your competitors hands down, try focusing on customer service. At the very least do what you say you will. And if you can go the extra mile, I bet those customers will be so impressed they will come back to you time and time again.
I am now going to start noting good and bad customer service and writing about examples of these. If you have any of your own that you would like to share, please pop over and add them on the Facebook page.