In Chinese the word “Crisis” is represented by two characters. One means danger and the other means opportunity. In sales, any crisis while dangerous it may be, also represents your best opportunity ever to gain a customer for life! Or you can lose one forever. This choice is yours. The key to comprehending this concept lies in our ability to understand customer expectations and how those relate to rating their buying experience.
When I buy a new product or I invest in a new service, I expect it to perform in a certain way. If it does just that, meet my expectations, this buying experience for me is marked “neutral”. I got what I expected. If that doesn’t happen, mark my buying experience as “negative”. If the product or service exceeds my expectations we have a “positive” experience. Here’s the rub. Even with a neutral or positive experience, the cynic in me is always wondering … “What happens when this thing breaks? Will the service I receive be terrible, exemplary, or somewhere in between?” I simply don’t/won’t know the answer to these questions until that dreaded episode occurs and, trust me, it will.
As a salesperson, as a company, how will you respond to a product or project gone awry? You have a customer here who is not very happy. Hell, they may even be downright pissed off! It’s crunch time and you have two choices …
- Lose this person forever and have them share their negative experience with you and your company with anyone who will listen or …
- Secure a customer for life and have them share that with the world instead
I choose #2. You will have to display urgency. You will need to call on all of your necessary company resources. You will exceed your customer’s expectations regarding what they expected in terms of your service in a crisis situation. You will ensure their satisfaction to the best of your ability even if it means that you lose this deal. Regardless, if you do all of this … you will have a customer for life providing that you continuously demonstrate these characteristics whenever they are required. Think … next chaos.
Given a choice between two vendors where I had an issue with one which was taken care of immediately and correctly vs. someone who I have no experience with … I will always choose the former. Always. Why not? At least I know what will happen when things go wrong and, as sure as there is a Murphy, something always will.