Every manufacturer, needless to say, wants to sell as many products as possible. In order to do so, they must first meet the basic criterion – creating great products. In the past, companies that produced quality goods could earn a profit. Nowadays, manufacturers must find other ways to create advantages that will win them sales in the context of the constantly growing global competition. Enter customer service.
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Many manufacturers ignore customer service because they often associate it with consumer-oriented retail and service businesses. However, there are multiple reasons why it should never be neglected. First of all, their customers have similar needs as everywhere else – not only do they want to be satisfied with the purchased products but also with the amount of the support they receive. If treated properly, customers will be happy, buy more and remain loyal. In addition, they will spread the good word, boost brand awareness, and attract new customers. Therefore, a happy customer will eventually lead to an increase in sales. For that reason, it is essential for manufacturers to provide exceptional customer service.
Now that we’ve established the importance of customer service when it comes to increasing sales, let us give you some tips on how to satisfy your customers.
Simplifying the Process
The process of satisfying your customers begins when they first find out about your company and the goods you produce. If you make the process of buying easy for wholesalers, retailers, brokers, and your other customers, they will more likely choose you as a supplier. Manufacturers with seemingly endless lists of terms and conditions, old e-commerce sites, and telephone busy signals will have difficulty competing with your company if it provides excellent customer service.
Customers should never need to apply excessive effort to buy your products or to get help. From the acquisition of a lead until the conversion of a sale, your company should have team members ready to help. For example, when customers shop in a specialized store, they should always have sales people available to them. They should also have a customer support team at their disposal. FAQs and other online pages will not suffice – buyers need to connect with real people. The availability of real people to facilitate the sales processes will decrease the number of abandoned sales, increase the conversion rate, and produce satisfied customers.
Providing Multi-Channel Support
Buyers need to have multiple methods of communication open to them, so they can get the support they require at all times. Email support, online chat options, and call centers offer just a few of the ways customers can communicate with your firm. For example, social media gives your company an excellent forum that can boost the awareness of your brand and demonstrate a high level of customer service excellence. Although social media channels can create negative word-of-mouth experiences, the potential for good publicity outweighs that risk.
Whatever the channel, always be careful not to make your customers wait – if you don’t respond to inquiries quickly, customers will find a manufacturer of a similar product to meet their needs.
Treating Customers with Respect
When you recognize the humanity and individuality of your clients, you have the key to providing excellent customer service. As much as your team should have the knowledge and authority to resolve customer problems, they should also be able to listen to customer concerns and provide friendly, polite, and satisfactory answers. In all interactions, they must treat the customer respectfully, displaying no trace of arrogance. An Oracle survey showed that forty percent of customers will spend more money with a company if they receive good service. You can, therefore, understand that respectful customer service creates a pathway to new sales.
Being Honest & Exceeding Expectations
Your company should have an honesty policy, so customers can count on your team members to provide solutions even when your business causes a problem. Honesty begins before the sale when your company accurately portrays the benefits customers can enjoy from your products. If, after the sale, your product does not meet the expectations of your clients, they will find a new supplier. However, if your company transcends customer expectations, your team will keep customers for a long time. By personalizing the customer experience through little surprises such as birthday gifts, greeting cards, thank-you notes, and free product guides, your company can leverage the power of reciprocity through ongoing personal relationships.
The power of reciprocity is amazing – according to an interesting social psychology study, customers in restaurants will tip the waiter more generously if the waiter has brought them candy along with the check. Just as the waiter in the study, your customer service can create an unexpected, positive surprise at the close of every deal.
Upselling & Cross-selling
Your company should use its customer service to upsell and cross-sell additional items to your clients. Every purchase or customer service session should end with a special, personalized offer to the customer. Of course, your team members should exercise discretion because dissatisfied customers might feel offended by a solicitation to buy.
However, making a customer happy will open up a new possibility to make another sale. Customer service agents should therefore try to discover the customer’s unmet need and give them a chance to satisfy it on the spot.
Asking for Feedback
Your company should also ask customers for feedback. When you get a chance to listen to customers talk about their needs, opinions, and feelings, you open the door to new sales opportunities. If you know what your customers need, you can consider creating new products based on their demands, thus satisfying your target market. Moreover, if you know what they think about your existing products, you get a chance to potentially improve them.
Therefore, always keep in mind to seek your customers’ opinions, whether through surveys, formal interviews or casual conversations.
As in the retail world, customers in the business community cost more to acquire than they cost to retain. Strong relationships create loyal customers who will buy from your company for a lifetime. Your business must spend the time and effort required to satisfy clients and to create partnerships with them to achieve common goals. When you spend time developing beneficial relationships with your customers, you will build a loyal customer base that will support your company for many years to come.
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Businesses that pay attention to their clients create a favorable climate where consumers can spend money and spread the word about your brand. When your manufacturing company provides excellent customer service, you gain the trust and strength of loyal customers. All said, in order to increase sales, your business should definitely leverage the power of great customer service.