We’re salespeople. That means we don’t do details. We don’t do follow-up, administration or operational efficiency. And we most definitely do not, under any circumstances, do customer service.
Am I the only one who resents that stereotype? The key to good customer service is simple communication. I once heard that good customer service means calling them before they call you. Isn’t that the truth? The one thing you don’t need from a customer is, “I’ve left messages, but haven’t heard back.”
We’re good communicators. So why is our stereotype that if a problem arises, we suddenly go as radio silent as a black ops team at zero dark thirty?
Related: How to be a better salesperson
My goal is to return calls and emails the same day. At 5 p.m, there are no outstanding voicemails or emails on my list. Not everything is resolved, mind you, but no one thinks I’ve left him/her hanging. I usually hit my target, but there are days when sales calls run long or fires have to be fought.
Oddly enough, I often hear, “Thanks for returning my call so quickly. I didn’t expect that.” Huh? I called you back at 5 p.m. from a call you made to me at 8 a.m. That’s “quick?”
Comedian Chris Rock once did a bit about people taking credit for things they’re supposed to do. “People brag, ‘I take care of my kids,’” he mocked, “You’re supposed to take care of your kids, dummy. What do you want, a parade?” To me, returning calls the same day — or within 24 hours — is much the same as taking care of your kids. It’s what we should expect.
I’m not asking you to marvel at my superior powers of customer service. I’m bringing it up because it occurs to me that most people today have pretty low expectations of us. And that means we have an unprecedented opportunity. Timely communication is absolutely critical to success, especially in 2015 when the pace will quicken and the questions will proliferate.
In times of stress, our clients need to know we care about them, even if the answers we get aren’t favorable. When they know they’re on our radar, they trust us to seek the best possible outcome for them — because when you care about someone, they’re on your radar.