7 minutes read
Customer loyalty is what all business owners are dreaming about. The benefits of having people who are loyal to our products and service are well known. Especially since Apple has proven how valuable true fans are for brands success and revenue.
“having people feel proud they are working with you or wearing/using your products and advertise it to their friends and family is the mission of all missions”
But how do you achieve that seemingly impossible task when nowadays customers are more than ever bombarded with options to choose from? How to organize yourself and your business so that your competition does not steal your revenue with better offerings and options?
A few weeks ago I get a phone call. One of those many cold calls that are somehow annoying because they almost always interrupt your day.
On the other end of the line was this woman that was doing her job and that job was to sell me something. She was calling from another phone service company, one that i used some years ago. I remember now why I left the conversation going for more than a minute. It was the typical “yes” answer to the question “would you spare a minute of your time?”. She caught me in a small thought break so I automatically said “yes”. I regretted the next second because of the connection between one minute in my mind and the reality started to be two different things.
She started to ask me questions about my phone company operator. If I am happy with it, what do I use from them, how much it costs me monthly and for how long I have been with them etc. Ok, this lady is doing some market research. That’s not so bad, I thought, I can help her out, made me think again that maybe that one minute would at least prove to be beneficial to her job and maybe the service they are building up. Still, knowing that usually, the purpose of this calls are selling, I told her that I am happy with the provider I have and that I am not thinking of changing it anytime soon. She agreed on that but asked that we still continue the discussion. Fine.
I am thinking now that this is her job and that she works in this big telecommunication company. I start to relate to her. Seeing her in that small cubicle with the headset on her head that has only one earpiece and a mic. She has this keyboard in front of the computer and the screen and maybe the script hanging next to the monitor that tells her what to say in case of customer objection. I feel with her and I want to help her out. I want her to succeed because I remember I wanted to succeed being in that cubicle some 15 years ago. I didn’t do sales but I was a number behind some tasks that had to be done for a multinational company and then every task was of huge life or death importance.
And for her, this call was that. I could feel it in her voice every time some of my answers or lack of knowledge indicated to her she should continue pushing for the sale. I concluded in those moments that she was good and/or the script was good, the training, maybe even her manager who maybe was close to her (we were talking for 15 min already). I also understood that the more time it passes the higher her hopes get on winning a game that was (with me – maybe with someone else would have been another story) from the beginning a waste of her time. I remember actually even expressing that to her at the beginning of the call. I would not like to waste your time. She answered with the great line, that it is her job and I am not going to waste it.
Anyway, coming back to the call, she started making comparisons between services and because I was really satisfied with my service she then went for the last resort. The price. She offered a deal half the price I was currently paying to my provider. She was very determined to close the deal.
I declined the offer.
It felt awkward those couple of seconds of silence. I let her catch her breath, her thoughts, her tactics, and her script. We were maybe at minute 20 of our time together. I had enough of the call and wanted to let her gently continue her day with still some juice to call other customers and sell them stuff. I didn’t want her to feel that she was defeated, that she didn’t do her job well. Because I had all the respect for how professionally she had handled the discussion.
So I told her the truth. Again. I am happy with the provider I have and I do not wish to change. But that was only part of the truth. A truth that would have invited for a simple question if I were in her place and that was: WHY? Why am I so happy with my provider that I cannot be convinced to make a shift to an offer that is half the price ( like the price has anything to do with loyalty ). But she didn’t ask.
If she would have asked, I would have told her that my situation was somehow different a few weeks ago. So what happened? What changed me from a simple customer (who obsesses over customer relationships ) to a loyal fan that now is suggesting my phone company to everyone who asks?
I got a phone call from my provider telling me that (finally) I can have fiber optics in my building. I knew that. They had installed it for at least a month but I didn’t have the time to call them up and take an appointment and other administrative things. It was coming and going so I kept postponing it. When they called I was out of the country so I asked if we can have the call when I return and they scheduled it. They kept their promise and called the day I said I was back. They called and they told me I don’t need to do or pay anything else. They are going to send a professional to my place, it will take them around one hour. They sent me everything in my inbox to sign and indicated the place I could go to handle any issue that might arise. The discussion with the lady that called was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have had of customer relation. She was super nice and patient with my French and also extremely descriptive with everything that will happen with the installation. She told me I can also read all the instructions in the e-mails she is sending and I can call her if any question arises. And all of that to get me the internet in my home with no extra revenue for the company.
Now THAT felt like I was in the right hands. I didn’t go through the documentation that she sent, I didn’t use the Q&A section and I didn’t open the app. I didn’t have to, because she made everything super clear. And I trusted that IF something will not work, I know where to go and I know that my call is welcomed and that a great support team is waiting to handle the issues I might encounter.
But that was not all. From then on, I got automated e-mails reminding me of the appointment and again, that I have a place where I can find out more and contact them if anything. They were not spam-type e-mails. And they were automated. But knowing that they are on top of the situation even if I don’t have the time to go and see, made me feel, again, safe and taken care of.
The sales lady from the competition called me just a couple of days before the installation would have taken place. She was offering to install internet in my home.
I stayed with her for more than half an hour and for the last minutes of the call I wanted to help her understand that it is not her fault. She did a great job in doing what her company has trained her for. SALES. Sales is, in this part of the world – France, a department that is very well trained. They have people with a more aggressive approach. They push a lot and I believe it must work because otherwise, they would change the approach. Salespeople are trained and invested in. Where there is still work to do here is customer support. Everyone knows, if you have a problem, you won’t get it fixed so easily. It takes a lot of time, nerves, appointments and many times unprofessional attitudes to get you to say I solved it.
And that is what my phone company has understood. I recently passed one of their shops and there it was written: winner of best customer support for two years in a row. AHA. I totally agree.
How did my phone conversation end? I felt I couldn’t explain to her to make her understand why I didn’t want to accept her amazing offer. I told her that price is of no importance to me when I am happy with the service I have. She still didn’t get it. So I flipped the situation.
I told her that if I had been her customer, happy with her service and the competition would call me, I would never change for any offer.
That clicked. She understood.
We do not become loyal customers overnight. But when our needs are met and we feel cared for, we do prefer to maintain that relationship.
Our mission at #bemarcable is to transform your customers into your fans. So that when the competition comes at their door, phone, screen, they respectfully decline the offer and realize once again how happy they are with your service or product.