Thursday, February 19, 2015

The perfect solution

Do you need a mobile messaging device that won't fail you? Are you sick of constantly having to upgrade the software on your current device? Is your current mobile device draining the battery as fast as you can charge it? If you answered "yes" to any of these, I have got a deal for you! The pocket Etch-A-Sketch has what you need. No charging batteries. No firmware or software updates. No wi-fi access needed. All this can be yours for roughly the amount of change in the cup holder of your car.

Ask questions and listen. I briefly touched on this point in my last post and I wanted to expand on it due to its (hopefully obvious) importance. Too many people these days seem to think that customer service is asking the customer what they want and then putting it in their hands. Your goal in asking them questions is to determine their need, not to find the item they are searching for. You are the expert with the knowledge to meet their needs. Ask questions to determine their real need. Ask enough questions to develop a proper solution to meet this current need and, if possible, one that will scale to meet their future needs.

The customer is always right...sort of. I have never been fond of that phrase because I rarely see it used in the right manner. The customer is always right because they chose to buy from you and you want to keep them as a customer. They chose to walk into your store or give you a call to ask for help. They have other options for fulfilling their needs. If you want to keep them as a customer, you will do what you can to make sure they are "always right". Always right does not mean they always know what they need, or that they always have their facts straight. It's your job to help the customer see what right is.

Don't sell your customer what they ask for. Sell them a proper solution for their needs. My Etch-A-Sketch example above would be a good example from the IT industry. Everyone seems to want 100% up-time for a low price. The Etch-A-Sketch offers that. It's cheap, doesn't require a power source and it's even an extremely durable and mobile device. That may be all they asked for, but it isn't what they need. I realize it's a ridiculous example, but it proves a point. Dig deeper and get more answers so you don't undersell the customer and risk them being dissatisfied after the sale. Sell a solution rather than fill a request.

Disclaimer: I would highly encourage you not to sell an Etch-A-Sketch to a business, even as an add-on item, due to it's extremely low level of productivity. I'm not talking about how it takes 5 minutes to write your name on it. I'm referring to the fact that after I took the above photo, I found myself doodling with it for 10 minutes for no apparent reason. It's oddly addictive after spending all day on a computer and it's 10 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. Until next time....