Water Well Journal

June 2016

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/681918

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Page 51 of 111

T he level of customer service we provide will be the measuring stick our customers use to select and remain loyal to a supplier. We have been told this for several decades now. Meanwhile, the levels of loyalty have come under pressure to the point many observers insist loyalty no longer exists. Loyalty is a difficult area to measure as loyalty is driven from that part of our brain that has no ability to communicate. Communications comes from a different part of the brain. To make matters more difficult, customer service is an elu- sive measure in that it depends on expectations and percep- tions. What the customer expected to receive and what they perceive they did receive is what determines customer service. The customer owns these two elements and unless we ask we'll never know how we did. Now comes along technology to assist us in our pursuit of being the highest value provider to our marketplace. There are marketing tools which record telephone calls and through voice recognition can evaluate the quality of the call and the salesmanship of the employee serving the customer. Imagine that. We can have every telephone call received inbound or dialed outbound recorded. I want to set aside any privacy issues we might have in this discussion. A short disclaimer at the beginning of the call—"This call might be recorded for customer service purposes"—will usually address the major- ity of the concerns and deal with the opportunities with this new tool. Meeting Customer Needs We now can track each call, the content of the call (using key word identification), and the result of the call. This can be a powerful revenue-generating tool as well as a strong tool to use to develop employee skills. What could you do with such a tool? Well, you can know the volume of calls to each customer service employee and their individual results. What percentage of the inbound calls required a price check? What percentage required an avail- ability check? What were the conversion rates for each of these inquiries? Does it vary by individual? We can also provide our sales history to customers and then the software suppliers can track revenue vs. potential vs. plan for each customer in your territory. Do I have your atten- tion yet? One of the many aspects in the capital goods industries that has troubled me is our low market share for parts and labor. We are the primary supplier of the pump or the well or transporting water, yet how well do we manage the ongoing maintenance and repairs of the capital good? Who of our competitors also serve these same customers? How we deal with the market capture rates and our competitors goes a long way to determining our success. We have to know what the customer truly needs and wants. From these needs and wants we can determine what we have to excel at internally to satisfy those needs and wants. But we can excel in all aspect of our business and still be severely challenged if we don't know how effectively we are selling each time we touch a customer. We are dependent for our success on the individuals who I call your heroes—your frontline personnel talking to customers. What are we doing to help them succeed? How do we know how successfully they sell to your customers? In the past we didn't really know. Now we do. Today, we can provide for each phone number a range of pertinent statistics. How many calls? What type of a call was it? Did it generate an order? What is the ratio of calls to or- ders? What is the average order value? Did we ask for an order? If we did, what call to close ratio did we experience? You see now we can perform serious marketing work. We can develop strong training programs. We can produce an objective personnel evaluation and provide improvement opportunities. We can provide powerful incentive programs and much more. Evaluating Your Customer Service Okay, so how do your customer service people make out? Do you know? There are several consulting businesses that will come in and record your telephone calls and play them back to you. You can listen to the complete call. This can be very embar- rassing. I can't tell you how often I have listened to customers asking one of your employees for a price on a part and once they have the price, the call ends. The same holds true with the customer asking for the availability of a part. This brings me to selling training. Have your in-store per- sonnel had training on selling? Typically not. Most businesses RON SLEE THE AFTER MARKET CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SELLING How's this work? waterwelljournal.com 50 June 2016 WWJ We can be severely challenged if we don't know how effectively we are selling each time we touch a customer.

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