Everyone loves to talk about customer loyalty, but what does that mean, really? I argue that customers are not genuinely loyal to your company until they have stopped shopping among your competitors. They aren’t just “satisfied” with you until a better deal comes along. Instead, they value their relationship with you so highly that they go deaf to the appeals of your competitors. They are your customers for life.
The Action Selling process teaches salespeople how to forge relationships like that. But no salesperson can maintain loyalty alone. The sales force needs help and support from everyone else in the company who interacts with the customer-the service people, technicians, and professionals who actually must deliver the solutions that the salesperson has sold. Sales and service cannot be at war; they must be in alignment. They must reinforce each other. Ideally, the reinforcement should be so effective that loyalty generation becomes synergistic, the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.
For that kind of alignment to happen, post-sales service has to be about more than fixing problems, managing complaints, and reacting to the aftermath of the sales process.
How does service become “more” than that? I believe that every customer-contact person in a company must learn to act as a Customer Relationship Professional. CRPs take responsibility for improving customer coverage, creating customer successes, and fulfilling the organization’s commitment to the practices and values that create customers for life.
CRPs don’t just try to fix problems that arise. They anticipate and prevent problems with recommendations that fine-tune and optimize the solutions that their company provides. They ensure that customers are happy with these solutions because they gain the customer’s agreement and ask for the customer’s commitment to the notion that the solution resolves a situation in the best possible way…