Today I am excited to share with you an except from Chapter 10 of The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business.
My cousin Eric told me about a terrific service experience at Home Depot. He visited the store branch to purchase bags of water-softener salt. You may know that these sizeable bags are bulky and heavy, not the type of items that you’d want to carry, particularly if you recently had back surgery—which is just the position that Eric found himself in. After finding the items he wanted to purchase in one of those seemingly mile-long aisles, he went in search of a store representative to help. Finding one a few aisles over, he asked the young man whether he’d follow him so as to help place the bags into his cart. The associate said he’d gladly help, and followed Eric back to his cart. However, Eric realized that he’d also need help in transporting the bags from the cashier to his car, so he asked the associate if the store had staff by the check-out counter that would be available to assist.
“Sir, you need not worry about finding someone to cart your items through the parking lot,” the salesperson said. “Are there people by the door to assist me?” Eric asked.” I’ll assist you,” the young man said. “What I’ll do is stand on line with you for as long as it takes, and then carry the stuff out to your car.”
He was true to his word. To top it off, when Eric opened his wallet to offer a well-deserved tip, the associate adamantly refused it, and wished Eric a good day.
Now, that is a great customer service story. This scenario could have been converted into an “engage today, connect for tomorrow” example with just one additional step. Can you figure out what that step could have been? It’s very simple. After declining the tip, the associate could have said, “My name is Juan. An important part of my job is to help our customers. I’d look forward to helping you again the next time you need anything that might be available in our store. My hours are 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays. If you don’t see me right away, just ask the front desk to page Juan.” Now that would have been a perfect “engage today, connect for tomorrow” transaction. In fact, one could expand it to “. . . connect for tomorrow and the next day and the day after that.” And how long would that additional step have taken? Maybe thirty seconds.
Am I going overboard with this suggestion? Am I unnecessarily criticizing a sales transaction that was really excellent to begin with? Possibly. When a service or sales associate mentions he will personally assist the customer the next time, the shopper will recall that fact, since it means he can look forward to the same high level of assistance the next time, thus alleviating any worry that the next visit might not go as smoothly as the first. It’s these extra steps that can ensure that a great customer service experience, coupled with a perfect “leave-behind”, will communicate to the customer that you want them to return.
The Welcomer Edge provides practical recommendations and strategies so that any company – regardless of industry or size – can maximize the quality of its customer service and the quantity of its loyal customers. The principles outlined in The Welcomer Edge are universal for all sales and service environments. It describes four distinct categories of service professionals – the people that will make any customer service/sales function or department a success. Understanding that each category has definitive service personalities will help a business at its most critical moment: the encounter that brings two people together to “make the sale” or further increase brand loyalty.
At the heart of this book is the “Welcomer”– a special category of friendly, engaging people who are innately intuitive and perceive customers as “people first.” Identifying and recruiting welcomers – as part of a company’s team – is the key to success. Author Richard Shapiro, the founder and President of The Center For Client Retention,provides real life examples and anecdotes to help transform this concept into action.
The bottom line is that The Welcomer Edge shows how sales and customer associates can have a powerful impact on revenues because they determine the outcome of the all-important first impression, and this translates into whether or not a business will achieve its most critical goal – repeat business.
The Welcomer Edge will give any company or organization the competitive edge.