The heading is pretty self-explanatory what this rant is about…customer service right? In a sense yes but it goes much deeper than simply that; it could mean the destruction of your brand and business as you know it.
Recently (like literally yesterday) I had a run in with a sales rep. In a sense she is the first point of contact for a popular online CRM company (no I will not say which). “First point” meaning once I showed any level of interest in their product or service she would be the first person that contacts me at the beginning of my buying decision. She had requested a bit of information by email, which I gave her, to get a better understand of what I wanted out of the product. Okay fine, good job, find out the customer needs and such, good first approach. After which a follow up call was made to me to further discuss what is it I was looking for, for my business…okay. We started the conversation and I was content with it, until she began asking questions. I began answering the first, mid-way through I was interrupted, okay fine. The second third fourth and fifth I began realizing a common trend of interruptions with trying to finish answering each question. It was as if I was being rushed into answering each question under 5 seconds, as if the conversation was being timed by someone with a stop watch beside her. I began questioning if she was truly interested in what I wanted or was she just following a sales script trying to get through it as quickly as possible to move on to the next potential customer, which in the eyes of the current potential customer is not a good look. No customer wants to feel rushed when making a purchasing decision, whether to buy or to have questions asked answered. Which brings me to my point.
This is a clear example why businesses should carefully consider who they decide to put at the forefront to represent their business. As the person responsible for making the first impression it has to last, and not in a negative way. Something as seemingly harmless as a telephone conversation could severely damage or destroy one’s brand, whether the person realizes it or not. In this scenario the impression that was left in my mind was “For a company that is selling a sales CRM their staff really doesn’t know much about the practice.” Before then I was completely sold on the product. Now because of one negative interaction with the brand, I am strongly reconsidering my options.
This is a lesson that must be clear to all businesses. Whether you know it or not your business (product, service and people who make up your business) is your brand i.e. your reputation. If one person messes up, the entire business messes up, even more detrimental if it is the first point of contact.
My suggestion is carefully select who you employ. Skill and qualification is not enough today. Personality and tone of interaction with customers is far more important, since this will be the determining factor if a potential customer buys or not.
If you were the first point of contact how differently would you have handled the situation? Leave a comment and let me know.
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