Each phone call, no matter how negative, is an opportunity…

In these economic times, when it may be harder to get new business, it makes it even more important to do all we can to retain our customers and increase the loyalty factor. It is shocking that day in, day out, we can find so many examples where we are left wondering, why didn’t they do just a little bit more to keep their customers? Why do so many throw away opportunties and not make use of situations where the customer is giving them a chance to obtain business?

Today I overheard my friend talking on the phone and asking a hair salon company for the name of the person who did her hair last time. She thought she did a good job, but couldn’t remember her name, and wanted to schedule another appointment. She described the appearance of the hairstylist and which station she usually worked at until the employee on the phone recoginized who she was referring to. The employee said that the hairstylist my friend wanted did not work there any longer.

My friend was of course disappointed, and stayed on the phone a bit to express how satisfied she was last time and also communicated a mood of not knowing where to go next. The employee apologized, did not say or ask much more, and they said their goodbyes.

You may be wondering, as I am, why did the employee not take the opportunity to strive a little harder to retain the customer? My friend, as evident by her reaction, had some hesitancy and indecisiveness about where to go and what to do next. Even though her preferred stylist was no longer working at the salon, the employee already had my friend on the phone and had first shot in convincing my friend to stay with the company.

Maybe the employee could ask my friend what kind of style she likes and then promote one of the stylists in the salon? The employee should show interest by asking questions and then show that their services can meet the needs of my friend. In these kind of situations, where a customer is disappointed and considering going elsewhere, maybe employees should have the authority to offer discounts and special coupons in an effort to keep the customer? Or how about politely asking the customer if they would like to talk to one of the hairstylists to discuss on a more personal level about the desired look that the customer is after?

Each phone call is an opportunity to improve the customer relationship. The employee probably assumed that because the preferred stylist is not available anymore, this meant the end of the interaction and relationship. It’s up to the employee, especially while the customer is still on the phone, to convince her not to go elsewhere.

-Patrick Law

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Each phone call, no matter how negative, is an opportunity…

  1. Zal

    Pat,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Every time that you’re on the phone with a current customer or prospect, every angle must be taken to further increase customer loyalty, or make the initial sale.

    As a part of a marketing team for a large software company, we come across this situation every day, either in phone conversations or at customer events.

    Remember the 80/20 Rule! 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customer base. Upselling additional services and/or products to existing customers is crucial for any company’s success, regardless of industry.

  2. Hello Zal,
    Sorry for the delay in responding. Yes, I’ve heard about the 80/20 rule, but I never apply it and put it to direct action enough, so thanks again for the reminder.

    I always seem to get in the habit of putting most of my focus into trying to attract new customers/students, but maybe neglecting the fact that the same old routine for my current students may be getting stale for them.

    Hmmm…yes it’s important to make a great first impression, but perhaps it’s just as important to continue making 50th impressions that are just as fresh as the first one!

    This month I’m definitely going to do something to pleasantly surprise my students who have been with me for a steady period of time. A surprise free lesson? CD gifts of language material? An English letter of thanks, appreciation, and reflections on special memories during our lessons, delivered to their home?

    Zal…lots to do this month!!!! Keep feeding me good advice you come across or think about…..to fuel the energy!
    -Patrick

  3. Zal

    Excellent ideas, Pat!

    Well worth the effort to show your current students that you appreciate their business.

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