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How to Guarantee You'll Get Referrals

Aug 18, 2007
"Customer service is the never-ending pursuit of excellence to keep customers so satisfied they tell others of the way they were treated in your place of business."

A big problem in the sales world today is that many salespeople and companies spend more time and money to get a new client than to keep their current clients satisfied.

One of the keys to customer service is go the extra mile. Give the client more than they paid for. Treat everyone like they are the most important person in the world and they will become "raving fans".

Let me give you an example of bad customer service and then an example of good customer service.

I contract a company to take care of my lawn in the summer and plow the snow for me in the winter. I had one company that's been doing both the lawn care and snowplowing for me the last couple of years.

The guy who rides the mower drives at a very quick pace over my lawn. In my backyard there is a line of pine trees along one side of my lot line on the east side. When it rains, as it did quite frequently last year, the ground along the trees stays wet.

If you've seen the latest riding mowers they use, when the mower turns, the back wheels turn 180 degrees. As a result of the speed he was traveling and then turning so quickly, he was digging up my lawn. I talked with him on numerous occasions; however, it didn't seem to make a difference. He came back the next week and did the same thing.

My dissatisfaction with him continue this past winter. I opted not to sign a contract for snowplowing. Instead I decided to pay him per trip. He never came out and said anything directly, however, I could tell by his attitude, he wasn't happy about my decision.

The agreement was for him to plow when there was three inches of snow. At least three or four times he plowed my driveway when there was one inch or less of snow on it. I called and had a conversation with him on each occasion. With each conversation he became increasingly annoyed to the point of getting downright belligerent. In the end I ended up paying the money I would have spent on signing the contract.

Instead of trying to find a solution that would be a win-win for both of us, he decided he was right and it didn't matter what I thought. He was more concerned with the money he would make than he was providing his customer with good quality and service.

Needless to say I fired him.

This spring I hired a new company to do my lawn service. I made the owner aware of the issue with the lawn along the trees and he has been very conscious of not digging up the lawn.

About a week and a half ago on Thursday I received a phone call from the owner of the new company. He was calling to let me know that he would be cutting my lawn on Friday that week instead of Thursday because he was running a day late on account of the rain.

He also wanted to know if his work was to my satisfaction and if there was anything I would like done differently. We had a very pleasant, short conversation and when I hung up the phone, I turned to my girlfriend to tell her what had just happened.

I was absolutely blown away by this phone call. It wouldn't have mattered to me if he cut it on Thursday or Friday, however, the fact that he took the time to let me know, and to see if his work was to my satisfaction, showed me he cared, and was willing to go the extra mile, to over deliver.

In two years with the other company I never once received a phone call like that and the conversations we did have showed me he cared about only one thing; himself, and the money he would make

I know your probably thinking it was a little thing he did making that phone call, however, it's the little things that make a big difference. It made a big difference to me, and I'm the one paying the bill.

Which company do you think I would recommend?

How does your customer service compare to the two examples I've given? Or do you fall someplace in the middle?

Are you going out of your way to make your clients and customers happy, or are you doing just enough to make the sale and then move on to next one?

When you go the extra mile, and when you do the little extra things, you will stand out from the competition and turn your clients into "raving fans".

When you ask for referrals they will be more than happy to give you some. When their friends and associates ask who they purchased from, they'll be more than willing to sing your praises.

It doesn't take a lot of effort to please people; however, the returns you'll receive will be more than worth the effort.

How can you go the extra mile and provide better customer service for your clients and turn them in to "raving fans"?
About the Author
Jim Klein helps salespeople fine tune the sales process so they can confidently close more sales and create long term relationships. Get free sales training by subscribing to our free newsletter "The Sales Advisor".
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