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It's all about the service... Gaining & Retaining Clients

Retaining and gaining customers has become increasingly challenging.  As customers we have abundant choice and it is so easy to comparative shop.

    • We talk about great service
    • We talk about the extra mile
    • We talk about the attitude
    • We talk about customer perception
    • We talk about customer expectation
    • We talk about meeting customer needs
    • We talk about the tangible vs intangible
    • We talk about the client experience

    So what makes a customer feel that they have received outstanding service?  
    What makes it a soft skill, rather than a science, is that we are all so different and people in services and sales need to read each situation and act accordingly.
    In a restaurant, if my chair is constantly bumped by the waitrons going past, no matter how great the food, my perception is negative.  My family don’t even notice the bumps..
    A few years ago, I was lucky enough to visit Greece and Turkey.
    In Istanbul, we were wandering around one of the many fantastic street markets, and I saw a display of the most luscious looking dates.
    My son loves them, so I walked over.   Within moments, one of the men in the store came over, and started discussing dates with me and which would be the best choice.   He told me where he sources them, as well as some of his more interesting other merchandise.
    He shared that he ships products internationally, and took me around the store to show me.  He insisted I tasted them, and I enjoyed just the best pistachio nougat ever.   He slipped a few samples into my bag, and I added saffron to my purchases.
    When my family joined me in the store, they were all offered nougat to taste, too.   By this time, we were on first name terms.
    On our way out, we walked through the adjoining carpet and silks store.    I love scarves, so started to look through the racks.   It turns out he owned that store…..   As we were buddies, I was given a very good price on the scarf (I think so, anyway, it’s certainly less than half of what I would have paid at home).
    This man was a relationship builder of note.   He saw a potential customer, and he started to chat, he gave me his story, and asked mine.   He offered free gifts, lower prices and great products.   What a powerful combination.
    He was warm, he was friendly and he made the sale.

    There is a real effort to draw in customers to stores in both Turkey and Greece.  They have people on the pavements exhorting passers by to come in to their stores and restaurants.
    My favourite was also in Istanbul.   We were walking close to our hotel, window shopping and casually looking for a place to eat later.   The restaurant "persuader" offered us the world to come into his place.   An unbelievable choice of food was discussed, but we were reluctant to commit.

    And then he said "every restaurant you walk past is going to give you the same story, and some will be very nice, but why don't you just come to mine, and save yourselves the trouble of listening to everybody else".  He added the clincher of free apple tea and dessert (my favourite, sutlach).   In we went!

    The service was fabulous, the decor was Turkish, the food was wonderful, and the free tea and dessert arrived with the addition of a portion of meltingly delicious baklava for each of us.

    He persuaded, he promised, he helped us make our decision with a clear and logical argument, and the staff over delivered.

    In any business, building relationships is where the journey starts, it continues with giving the customer more than they even knew they wanted.   For me, that was the baklava...

    Links, References and Notes
    Accsys provides people management solutions ie Payroll, Human Resources (HR), Time and Attendance as well as Access Control/Visitor Management.
    The company develops, implements, trains and services our solutions.  We provide readers, turnstiles, booms and CCTV.
    We run both on premise and in the cloud, as well as mobile options for ESS.  Recruitment, online education and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) are part of our offering, too.
    twitter:   @TerylSchroenn

    Note:   Thank you for reading Teryl@Work.   Should you wish to use any of the material, please acknowledge this blog as the source.

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