Every time someone in your company comes in contact with an existing or prospective customer, they have the opportunity to sell…or to kill a sale…without even realizing they are doing so.
Imagine this scenario: You own a car dealership and a potential customer comes in looking for a car. However, instead of coming through the showroom entrance, the customer comes in through the maintenance department and asks one of the women working in the Parts department how to get to the showroom. Instead of politely telling the customer how to get to there, the employee acts irritated at being interrupted and rudely points in the direction without looking the customer in the face.
Maybe you’ll be lucky and the customer will not be annoyed. On the other hand, this rudeness might cause the customer to turn around and walk away. Result: lost sale due to someone not remotely associated with the sales team. Incidents like this can happen in any organization and often go unnoticed or worse, unaddressed. As an owner or manager, you need to realize that everyone in your organization, from the CEO to the people who work in the back office to the techs, can influence a sale when coming in contact with a potential or existing customer.
This is the premise of a recent IdeaXchange blog by Jane Clark, Vice President of Member Services for NationaLease. Although many of her examples revolve around the trucking and truck leasing industry, the fact that everyone in your company can influence a customer’s opinion and attitude applies regardless of the business you are in.
Jane notes that managers and owners need to think of every employee as a Brand Ambassador representing the company with every contact they encounter. It is management’s responsibility to make that clear to everyone who works in the company. That could include running training sessions on how to answer the phones; how to deal with upset or irate customers; or how to make a good first impression. That last “how to” is extremely important. Remember the old saying: “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”
Jane suggests a few things companies must teach their employees:
- Be courteous and respectful on phone conversations.
- Always make an existing or potential customer feel that you care about their needs and issues.
- When it comes to drivers, always be clean in appearance and dress. As Jane notes, the way your drivers “are dressed can give the customer the impression about how you run your fleet.
But as Jane also points out, it’s not just the human components of your business that make an impression on customers. If a restaurant has the greatest food in the world, but the restrooms are filthy…need I say more? Just so, your trucks are “rolling billboards” and can indicate how you run your business. Make sure they are always clean and that damages are quickly repaired. And that includes damages that may not impair the drivability of the vehicle; they just make it seem as though you don’t care how the truck looks.
Many employees are often unaware of the role they play. It’s up to you to show them the right way to interact with people they meet on the job…or your business may suffer the consequences.