How to win (and not loose) a customer’s trust
We all, in a way or another, are sellers and buyers of one or other types of products or services. Good Customer Experience is preference of both, the beneficiary as well as the supplier, which helps in maintaining long-term relations.
The question is how to ensure that the experience is better, if not best, each time a transaction takes place.
I have learned, from my personal and professional experience, that there are quite a few things, beyond the actual dealing, which play a vital role in winning (and not losing) the customers’ trust. Here I’ve shared my observations and you can add yours to help each other and in particular those who are in selling capacities.
Setting clear expectations, since beginning
Promoting the product / service is required to reach to its customers. However, prior to the dealing the scope has to be made clear. Here’s an example: You sell a product with 10 configurable features. A customer approaches you to buy it. When you sell it you have to state clearly which features are provided under what type of agreement. There could be, let’s say, basic, standard, and advanced packages, with different price tags. When marketing the product usually the lower price and maximum features are mentioned, which isn’t wrong. What goes wrong is when the agreement isn’t made clear. So the best approach is to mention clearly, since beginning, what the end-product or service will contain and what not, to avoid any dispute.
Planning work & Staying transparent, throughout the dealing
Each customer is unique and have different needs. When a product / service is sought, it’s usually required with some adjustments. The customization takes time and has to be planned well to let customers know the steps of aligning the output with their needs. For instance, your customer wants the product to behave in a certain way when an input is provided, and s/he has clearly indicated it in the requirement. Now for you to make sure that everything is clear you may need to setup a plan stating the phases for 1) requirement analysis, 2) brainstorming & presenting the options customer can have, 3) designing the concept, 4) building / adjusting the product, 5) testing and getting it tested, 6) delivering the final version, 7) providing support etc.
Communicating progress, from time-to-time
Keeping self ‘clear’ in written communication is a key to maintain business relation healthy and when a product seller or a service provider engages with a customer, s/he needs to maintain it well. It doesn’t necessarily mean communicating often; the minimum what is required (and is expected) to respond to your customer when s/he needs your help. Here’s a scenario; during presales the seller remains active and doesn’t let any opportunity go to talk to and convince the customer on buying his/her product/service. The same has to be maintained even after the deal is confirmed; if customer approaches you, you have to not only reply but have to (try to) satisfy him/her with their concerns.
How would you related it with your specialty? The SAP Consultants work with businesses in different capacities; some with SAP Partners, implementing solutions, while many others with SAP Customers, supporting the business operations. While both types of roles have their own goals to achieve, a common objective is to ensure that the Customer Experience is the best, when they serve others with the services they provide.
This a good breakdown of how granular the concept of customer service (to use the term loosely) can be when you break it down into parts like this. This is a great primer on a variety of different angles from which to approach the customer trust issue because customers are kind of important to any business. Nice laying out of things to consider.
Thanks for your comment George Colten.
Interestingly there are many businesses who loose their customers merely by not paying attention to such (and few other) important aspects while having the transactions.
In case of Solution Delivery / Support, it's even more important to maintain good relations with customers which can help the Services Providers in maintaining existing business and winning new opportunities.