Don’t let your business be one of those businesses that neglect the way their services and products are perceived by the people to whom they’re supposed to be selling. Many customers tend to choose companies to work with based on their customer service track record, so you should be wary about the way you carry out your day-to-day operations. Solomon Ali emphasizes the importance of making sure your customer service is always in good shape. Bad customer service reflects very poorly on the quality of the work you’re doing. Solomon can help you take full control of the situation so, going forward, you know how to deal with customers and provide the best possible customer service!
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Customer Service Is Your Brand
I’m excited to be here and speak to everyone at MBA, Minority Business Access. It’s such a blessing and a pleasure to be able to have you read the things that I am sharing. The blessing is for me that I get to share some of the knowledge and the things that I’ve learned along the way. Hopefully, you won’t fall into some of the same scenarios and traps that I did. You won’t have to learn all of this the hard way or pay extra money to your consultants and other professionals to learn this. Hopefully, this will be extremely helpful. That’s why we created MBA, Minority Business Access to help the entrepreneur who was starting in and is going to bootstrap it. It didn’t have any other way of getting it done, was going to take their little pennies out the piggy bank, and go ahead and say, “I believe in me. I got enough confidence in me. I’m going to get this thing done.”
We’re talking to you, whether you’re that entrepreneur that’s just starting out in business or whether you’re that entrepreneur who is saying, “I’m leaving corporate America. I’ve been there for 15 or 20 years and now I’m going to go into this entrepreneurship.” We’re going to talk about customers and not necessarily on how to acquire customers because that’s going to be at a later date when we talk about marketing. What we’re going to talk about are customers. What type of customers are you looking for? How do you determine the customers that you’re looking for? What do the different types of customers mean to your company? We’re going to try to go into that. I’m going to share my knowledge and expertise of what it means. It’s worked successfully for me.
The first thing I want to say about customers is this. Customers are extremely important. We all can agree on that. When you’re looking at customers, you need to do an outline. What I like to say is you’d write down maybe 4 or 5 things that you’re looking for in a customer. One, you’re looking for a customer that’s going to pay a certain dollar or be at a certain price point. You would write that down. “I want a customer who wants to be at a certain price point.” Next, “I want a customer who won’t complain a lot.” You’re going to write that down. Three, you may want a customer that lives in a certain geographical location. Four, you may want a customer that will spread the word. We’re identifying customers now. The last and the fifth one is that you may want a customer that will have a certain type of appreciation and value for the service that you provide or offer.
I want you to realize that I’m not just talking about providing a service, product, or manufacturer. I’m talking in general. Whatever your customer may be, whether it’s a business or an individual, it’s all the same. It’s like writing in a paper, once you write those different things down, you’re going to look at three things to support each one of those things that you have written down. Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to say, “My number one, I’m looking for customers that can pay a certain price point. What are the three things to support that?” One, a customer that can pay $20 for something is going to have a certain appreciation for and there’s a reason. Tell me, what is it about that customer who is willing to pay $20 for something? You’re going to write why all the reasons you think that the customer will pay $20 for that product.
If it’s a business to business and they’re going to pay $50,000 for a service or product, you will write down those various reasons why they will pay that. What are the benefits for them? Next, what we’re going to look at as we go through this is important. How do I determine my customers? You’re going to write that down, “How am I going to determine my customer?” I’m going to keep it simple. Do I determine my customers strictly based on price point? I don’t suggest that. You do want to determine what the price points are and what fails types of customers are looking for, but you do not determine your service or whatever it is of value strictly based on price point. What you have a tendency to do when you do that is you tend to think about what you and what your group of friends can afford. The people that’s around you.
Customer service can affect your brand.
If you do that, you’re always going to be coming up short. You’re always going to pay yourself less than what you’re worth. You don’t want to do that. The reason you’re going to think about regions when you’re looking at your customers is because different customers are looking for different things. If you’re on the East Coast, it gets cold. If you’re selling clothing on the East Coast, they’re going to need different types of outfits. On the West Coast, it stays warm a lot longer throughout the same year. They wouldn’t need as many different outfits. I use that as simplicity, but it’s the same if you’re selling a certain product because certain things wear out faster in warmer weather than they may in cold weather. You always want to think about the region. How is your product going to be servicing that particular region? What will it bring to the region and why are they particularly using it in the region?
Understanding Your Customer Base
It’s like what you learned in school. Answer the five Ws. If you can do that, then what you will have is a blueprint of understanding your customer base. Let’s get right on into it. Number one thing I want to do is after I determine who my customer is and I’m going to say A customer, B customer, and C customer. My A customer will be the customer that is willing to pay top dollar for something. That’s going to be my A customer. They’re going to buy all the different services, the things that I add, or their accessories, whatever you may want to call it or identify. That’s my A customer. In addition to my A customer, what they’re going to do is they have a mindset that they’re willing to pay for something because they believe that they get what they pay for. They don’t typically complain once they’ve received it, even if it doesn’t work 100% the way you or your advertising company may have presented it.
What they do is they sit back and they make it still suitable for them to meet their needs. They don’t call the company back and say, “You sold me this and this is crap because it’s supposed to do 1 through 10 and it only does 1 through 8.” They don’t get flexed about that people. My A customer is also the customer that makes referrals. He tells other people about my business, about the service that we offer, how it benefits, and how it has benefited him. That’s the A customer that I’m looking for. Let’s be real. That’s your moneymaker. What I mean by moneymaker is that customer is making you money. They paid one, more for your product and service. Two, they’re making referrals so that you can sell more. They’re buying accessories or different other products and services that you offer in addition to what you have sold them.
They don’t complain when it doesn’t work out 100% the way your advertising and marketing team or salesperson has told them that it may work out. What they do is make the appropriate adjustments to make sure it fits their needs and is suitable for them. That’s A customer. Your B customer is the customer that’s flexible on price. They want to negotiate. You may say, “This is $20,” but they want to get it for $15 but they have an idea of what they want and why they want it. Your B customer is normally the one that’s going to buy multiple units, utilize your service, and buy your products over and over. They may even be reselling some of your products. That’s your B customer.
Your B customer is sitting there. They’re not necessarily going to make any referrals because they’re buying up your stuff, but what they’re looking for is a margin. Why are they looking for a margin? They’re looking to possibly resell it, do something a little bit different with it, and put a little markup on it so that they can make a profit. The only time they’re going to complain is when something shipped to them and it’s broken or damaged. They’re going to want you to replace it and that’s not a big thing because you should do that anyway, but that’s going to be your B customer. Understand, your A customer is the person who’s utilizing your product or your service for themselves or their organization. Your B customer is probably the person that wishes to buy it wholesale from you and then retail it back out. You got to provide a lot of customer service for that B customer.
Keep in mind, your B customer is a loyal customer. They’re always buying quantity from you. They’re more interested in the quantity than they are in the quality, but don’t give them crap because if you give them crap, they’re going to take their business somewhere else and that could be a large portion of your market share. You want to keep that in mind. Your C customer is the end-user that’s going to try to negotiate the price to the bottom price. No matter what the price is, they’re going to believe that this is not a good price. They can get it from somewhere else at a much better price or at a discounted price. Your C customer is the customer that’s going to complain. You’re going to have problems with that C customer all the time. It’s rarely will you be able to satisfy that C customer.
When you get a C customer, you want to think about this. Do you want that C customer? You need to think about that because that C customer is going to eat into your profit margin significantly. It’s not going to be, “You’re making money.” Any profits or any money that you make, trust me when I say that C customer will eat up your profits. If you get a customer or you get someone who wants to negotiate everything, who wants to complain, doesn’t want you to make any money, and doesn’t understand the cost of business, my suggestion is don’t do business with them. Let it go. It’s not worth doing business with that particular customer. It may look good on the books, records, and say you sold many units. The time and the effort that you spend trying to satisfy that customer, first trying to sell it to the customer, get everything done is not cost-effective and it’s not cost-efficient, so let it go.
Your best customer, of course, and your largest profit margin is going to be customer A because you’re not spending a lot of time with them. They know exactly what they want. They have researched what it is that they want. They know what they’re looking for and have a good idea of what your product or service will be able to provide them and what it will be able to do for them, whether it’s their organization or them as individuals. That is a good, happy customer. They’re willing to come back to you. That A customer doesn’t come back to you as often and as frequently as you would like for them to like your B customer will, but they will come back to you and you will be their go-to. That A customer will utilize all your other services and all the other things that you have that can be beneficial, support the products, and the services that you offer.
That’s important to remember about that A customer. If you’re A customer, you’re not going to get a lot of quantity. What you’re going to get is a quality customer, who’s going to get all the things that are necessary for them to provide a good presentation to their end-users, their customers or if it’s for themselves. Please definitely keep that in mind. Your B customer, they’re not looking at the quality. What they’re more so looking at is the quantity of units that they can get time and delivery. They’re not going to buy a whole bunch of accessories and all of that stuff because that’s not what they’re into. What they’re into is being able to get it at a good price and being able to mark that up. We cover those three customers. What does that mean to your business?
I want a good mix of A customers, B customers, and a handful of C customers in that set. I’m going to start with the C customers. I don’t want Customer C to be more than 5% to 7% of my sales at any given time because those are also the ones that are going to give me my chargebacks where I’m going to have to pay the money back. That 5% to 7% can help me to keep my numbers looking good from quarter to quarter and that’s important. This is the part of a business where you have to understand that you’re running two different businesses. You got a business of operations, but then you got a business behind the scenes where you have to be able to constantly access money. Of that 5% to 7%, I may have a problem with 30% of them. I don’t know which 30%, but that helps to keep my numbers up and high. You want that in your mix.
I want roughly about 20% of my mix to be a reference to my customer A. Why? Because these are the customers who are going to pay top dollar. They’re going to give me the least amount of problems. They’re going to buy accessories and other services that are complementary to what the original product or service is. I want that to be about 20% to 25% of my mix all day, every day. That’s probably going to make up roughly about 45% to 55% of the gross revenue. That is profitability because the things that you’re selling and providing to them will be more profitable and will have better profit margins. It’s important to understand. My B customers are going to make somewhere between about 35% and 40%. Between 35% and 40% of my B, they’re going to provide the balance of my sales revenue.
The customers that pay the least tend to cause the most problems.
Breakage problems with them might only make up about 3%, and that’s a good number. If they’re making up 35% to 40% of your business, that is not bad at all to have a 3% loss. That’s important because I am not going to spend a lot of time with them but they’re making up 30% to 40% of my business and then making that up. My sales numbers are good. They’re repeat customers and I can count on them month after month. They’re coming in, they’re buying, I’m able to service them, and I’m not having to deal with a lot of retention problems. We have a lot of good retention. We don’t have a lot of loss, anything from them complaining, or returning goods. That’s how you want to look at your customers because you got to be realistic. Don’t go in there thinking you’re going to get all A customers, all B customers, and all C customers.
Be Very Selective
When you write this down, you’re writing it down based on your market research and what you’re trying to find and figure out about the particular people who will be buying your service, that particular people or companies who will be utilizing what it is that you’re offering. You’ve got to know these people. In that way, you’re not shocked or amazed when you get that C customer that’s always complaining and return it, and negotiating you from let’s say you’re $20 down to $15 or $10. Most of the time, they’re going to try to get you down to somewhere around $13 to $10 where you have no margin and then you’re at the point where you’re just happy to sell it. You’re wasting your time and having your salespeople waste a lot of time. That is customers. I don’t know too much else what to say about customers, but be selective of your customers. All money is not good money.
Here’s what I have personally experienced. The people who pay me the least for my service or my products are the ones who cause me the most problems. They give me the most headaches. They’re the first ones to go tell on you, want to report you, do this or that, or simply eat up your time and your staff’s time, so be mindful of that. In all my years, I haven’t seen anything different. This is how it has worked for at least my experience in many years. The customers who pay more don’t tend to have that problem. I do not tend to have that problem. I’m going to give you an example. When I was in the nursing home business, I had customers who are social security customers. They were paying about $700 to $800 a month to be in my nursing home. We have to feed them, take care of them, and do everything for them.
These people will try to eat me out of the house and home. They demanded more of my nursing staff, operational staff, and the business management because they ate up all their time and they always had complaints. They were always unhappy about something. The nurses were jumping through hoops to try to please them and to accommodate them. They weren’t paying enough, but they expected to be treated a certain way, and it was unfair. I had felt sorry for people that were in that situation. You can’t afford to feel sorry for people in that situation because you’re going to find yourself in the same situation with no money if you keep doing business with people that way.
The people who pay $5,000 to $10,000 a month, they never complain. They were grateful. They were appreciative of what the nurses did. They always say thank you. They were accommodating and supportive of the nurses and the management team. That’s the difference I’m talking about. I use that illustration because that was the best illustration that I could come up with from all my years of experience in seeing and reflecting back on the past. I’ve seen it in the nursing home business, manufacturing business, technology business, energy, dealing with end-users, and utility companies. Be mindful of that. If you’re dealing with a person like that, it’s a mindset. There’s nothing you can do to change that mindset. Remember, Solomon Ali has told you all business is not good business. Some business, you need to walk away from.
If you ask Solomon, “Solomon, would you take those customers?” “I would take those customers but they would only make up approximately 3% to as much as 7% of my business. That’s it. That’s all they get to make up in my mix. I’m not going to have them at 10%, 15%, or 20% of my business. It’s not going to happen because I know how much time they would eat up.” I want you guys to be mindful of that when you’re going into business, you’re starting, and you’re looking at everything. You can’t help everybody because every dollar that it takes for you to buy equipment, buy your materials, pay your staff, or whatever it is, you’re associating operational costs to that. There’s got to be a return on investment and a return on capital. If you get too many of those other customers that are the bottom in, they want to be extremely frugal or cheap, especially if starting new in business, you cannot afford that.
It will put you out of business quickly. I want everyone to be mindful of that. The other customers, you will be happy with the job and the service that you’re providing them. All of that being said, thank you for reading to MBA, Minority Business Access. It was appreciative for all of you to join me. I greatly appreciate and I hope you found this segment of some valuable information for you to use. As I’ve always said, it’s helped me to maintain and make quite a bit of money, so I’m sharing it with you and hopefully, it’ll help you to maintain and make quite a bit of money as well. Thanks for reading to MBA, Minority Business Access.
I am pleased to be here to discuss one of my favorite topics and it won’t be a long topic. That’s customer service. Customer service can affect your brand. It can affect your reputation. It’s important that you understand customer service. It’s important that you understand how quickly it can affect your brand and anything that affects your brand affects your bottom line. What we want to try to do is talk a little bit about things. It’s not going to be long. I’m going to try to keep it short. Let me start off by telling you a story. Now is different. In the time and age that we live in with technology, artificial intelligence, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and all of these different sources for people to get information out, it’s very easy. It can be done in a matter of moments. It can be done based on an emotional feeling or emotional decision, so you want to be mindful of that.
When I started in business, we didn’t have all of the artificial intelligence. In fact, we didn’t have Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. You have word of mouth. If we in business did something that was correct or wrong, yes, bad news still travels faster than good news. We have all heard that story. The news was still getting around, but it took a lot longer. By that time, somebody may have been mad at you but because they had enough time to get over it, they may no longer be mad at you. It may not be worth telling 4 or 5 other people how crappy your company is and how bad you did in their customer service that you didn’t want to solve their problems. I want you to keep that in mind. We live in a different time and air.
In my day, we had an opportunity to fix something, go back, and service the customer. We had an opportunity to protect and watch our brand and covenant. Make sure that our brand wasn’t hurt or destroyed just because one person was feeling one way or because I may have had a bad day or one of my customer service people or my salespeople may have had a bad day. Whatever it may be, that could have offended the person by how they handled the situation and then show them enough courtesy or respect to address their true problems. You don’t have that time and you don’t get that grace. What you get is if a guy is unhappy with you and he feels as though you’re not addressing his needs, and he bought and spent this money with your company, it doesn’t matter if you made a profit or not, you could have sold something at a discount and didn’t make any money, he doesn’t care about that.
What he cares about is not doing for him what he believes it’s supposed to do and you’re supposed to solve that problem. Whether it’s you as the owner, the customer service person, or the sales rep, and you’re supposed to show him a level of respect, courtesy, and be concerned with why it’s not solving his problem. That’s what we’re going to talk about. We’re going to talk about customer service, what it means for you and the company. I’m going to try to articulate it more in storytelling rather than just trying to go bullet point by bullet point. Although I have a few things that I wanted to cover that I felt will be critical to helping you to understand that.
You may want a customer that will have a certain type of appreciation for the service that you offer.
Approaching Customer Service
What is customer service? Customer service is the satisfaction of your customer after they have purchased something from you. That’s it at the end of the day, it’s ensuring that they are satisfied. Here’s how I approach. When you purchase something from me or my company, we have a couple of things that we do. We immediately do a survey to see if you get exactly what you wanted. To see exactly and this gives us an opportunity to go over, how does it meet your needs? Is it meeting your needs? Did our sales representative present you with all the different options? I’m trying to find out if my salespeople drilled down. Did they educate themselves first? Before I sell you something, I have to educate myself on your needs. If I don’t understand your needs, then I don’t understand what it is.
I could sell you my water, but if you’re not dehydrated and you have a craving, this water is not going to do it for you, so I need to know that. That’s what we start with. We’re going to do our survey. We’re going to call you up and we’re going to ask you a lot of questions. We’re going to drill down first to see if our representatives, whether they’re salespeople on the internet or wherever you may have bought it, did they do their job? I’m not trying to fire anybody or throw anybody under the bus but I’m trying to determine whether or not the company may need more training on being able to meet the customers’ needs. You first understand, what is it that the customer needs? Why do they need it? What are they looking for?
When we call back for the survey, that’s what we’re asking. “Mike, how was your experience with us? I understand that Johnny sold you this beautiful service. May I ask what it was that you were looking for and how you intend to use the service?” The customer gets an opportunity to explain everything. “That’s great, Mike. Did Johnny also tell you this? If you recall any, what questions do you feel that Johnny could have asked you that Johnny didn’t ask?” I’m drilling down because I’m also trying to figure out what it is that my customers want to know? Where do they feel we came up short? You got to understand, I’m being proactive here because I’m hitting the customer before they have a problem and following up with the survey and questioning, so I can address any potential problem before it becomes a problem. Why? I’m trying to protect my brand.
If that customer has a problem and he goes and says, “I’m going to go on Facebook and talk to my friends about it.” What’s going to happen right then and there is the word is getting out and my brand is getting killed. If I create the survey and we call them up and we follow through, I’m able to help protect my brand. You’re going to hear me going back and forth on that contrast of survey, solving a customer’s problem, protecting the brand because at the end of the day, what does that mean? Protecting the brand means I’m protecting my bottom line and protecting my profit. Let’s approach it in a different way. Mike calls and he’s upset and hot. “Your people sold me this and this piece of crap doesn’t work.” “Mike, how may I help you? What is it that it’s not doing for you? What were you looking forward to doing that it is not doing?”
He’s screaming and yelling, “It’s supposed to do this and that. It’s supposed to solve this problem for me and I wanted it.” “Mike, I understand. I’m sorry that you’re currently having this experience right now. However, let me take the opportunity to ask you a few questions so that I can better understand how to address and meet your needs so we can get this problem solved for you. Mike, I’m here totally for you to solve your problem. If you work with me, my goal is to solve your problem.” I’m showing Mike. I have some empathy. I care and I’m concerned about your problem. I want to help you to resolve your problem. That’s important to make the customer and disarm them. Make them feel and understand that you care about their best interests.
You’re not worried about the product or whatever coming back, although you are, but that’s not your first concern. Your first concern is what you care about their best interest. What is it that’s causing all this anxiety for Mike? You want to know what the problem is so that we can address that problem. You’re going to address that problem because it may be an easy solution. Nine times out of ten, it is a simple solution. Mike calms down a little bit and he says, “Okay, James,” and he tells James what the problem is, “Your salesperson sold me this and I was expecting to be able to unlock my doors from my mother’s house who lives 40 miles away. I’m not able to do that with this particular product.” I go back and I say, “Mike, what were you looking and why is it important to be able to unlock your mother’s doors from 40 miles away?” “My mother’s elderly and she’s home by herself most of the time. If an emergency happened or I needed the next-door neighbor to go in, I can unlock the doors and let her in.”
“Which one did you get when the salesperson sold to you a product that you picked out?” “I picked out this one.” “Did you pick that product out by price, Mike, or did you pick it out by reading the instructions or were the salesperson telling you the different things that it would do and happened to forget to tell you that this one doesn’t work remotely? However, you can enter a code at the door which would achieve the same objective, but you would have to give someone that particular code when they go to your mother’s house. Meaning, you would add a different step in it where you would have to call that next-door neighbor and say, ‘Steve, can you run over to my mother’s house? I’ll give you the code so you can unlock the door and check on her.’”
Mike is like, “Maybe he told me that. I don’t remember.” Of course, we know most of the time, Mike is not going to remember because he’s upset right now. He’s hot and he’s on fire. All he knows is he bought your product and it’s not working the way he envisioned. He had some level of expectations of what this would do and how it would work. Your company has failed him because they have failed to meet any of his expectations. Whether it’s your fault or not, it does not matter. It is your problem to resolve, so you must resolve that problem. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. That’s irrelevant. It doesn’t have anything to do with the price of tea in China. The problem is now. It needs to be resolved. “Mike, would that be helpful for you? This is what you have. I’d be more than glad to substitute it with one that would work remotely. The ones that work remotely are a lot more expensive, but because you’re having this problem, I would be willing to discount that slightly for you. I am sorry.”
You must be apologetic and it must be sincere. “I am sorry that you have had this experience. It is not our company’s motto or mission to have our customers have a negative experience. I’m willing and want to discount this product and I’m more than glad to send it out to you. In fact, we can get that out to you the next day. Would that satisfy you, Mike?” Mike’s going to go, “No, because we’ve already installed this.” Mike may be a C customer. I am not satisfying Mike and making him happy. You just have some customers like that. That’s why you don’t want the Mikes of the world, the C customers to be more than 3% to 7% of your mix because they can drive away your profit quickly. Normally, even though they’re only 3% to 7% of your mix, they can be as much as 45% of your time. Please keep that in mind.
What you’re trying to do is provide excellent customer service. My mission in life is I’ve got to satisfy Mike because if I don’t get Mike satisfied and happy, he might jump on Twitter and tweet about me. My name goes all out there and my brand gets ruined. If every time somebody tweets something negative or something negative happens, I’m going to have to do ten times the amount of work to get one new customer. We don’t want that. I got to focus my attention on Mike. I got to solve Mike’s problem. I’m going to address Mike’s different needs. “Mike, what can I help you do?” I am not the best at this stuff. You want to get some books on this information and read about it because customer service is vital. Especially in the time and age that we live in, you want to be on top of customer service because it takes one tweet to spread around and mess up your brand. If your brand gets messed up, the bottom line gets affected and money out of your pocket quickly.
Customer service is the brain’s center for problem-solving.
You got dissatisfied Mike and what you want to probably do is sit back off with Mike something at a discount. You may want to turn around and ask Mike more questions because the first thing you need to do is educate yourself. “Mike, were there any other needs that you have of this smart system on how it worked at your mother’s home? Did you need the cameras? Perhaps you can check in on your mother because I noticed that you didn’t get any of the cameras. That could help rather than worry about having Steve from next door come over and check on your mother. You’ll be able to look in the cameras and see. I noticed that whoever sold it or when you downloaded it, you didn’t order a camera so you would be able to do that.” “I didn’t want the cameras or anything like that. I don’t want to see my mother getting undressed or anything like that.”
“I can understand that wholeheartedly, Mike. I wouldn’t want to see my mother undressed neither. There is a way to have those cameras turned off during certain periods of time so that you’re not feeling that. Mike, I’m going to suggest that perhaps we send you an indoor camera so that it can work in conjunction with your smart lock, and then that’ll also help to resolve your problem when you agree.” “No, as I said, I don’t want to see all of that.” “Mike, I understand. You were saying in reference to your needs, Mike, were there any other needs? Is it the bottom line, Mike?” You got to bear with me. I’m not the greatest at this. I got to sit back and figure out. Are there any other solutions for Mike other than a different door lock that he made me, that he can use to open up his door for his mother’s house remotely? That’s what I got to figure out.
I had to educate myself by asking him a lot of questions. Why did he pick what he picked? Why does he need it? What was he looking to achieve? In other words, what were his expectations? That’s what you’re trying to figure out because somewhere along the line, his expectations were not met. You need to meet his expectations and then exceed those expectations. That’s how you’re going to satisfy Mike and protect your name brand. Eventually, we’re going to get to a place where Mike is like, “Just send me out a new lock. Yes, I’ll be willing to pay the difference.” If Mike’s not willing to pay the difference, don’t worry about it. Send him the freaking lock. It’s better to lose money right now on one simple customer and not to have him tweeting. You have to turn around and use advertising dollars trying to generate the next 2 or 3 customers. It’s not that big of a deal. You’re going to lose money.
The people that make up 3% to 7% of your mix, you must expect that. That’s why you tried to keep that number down low. Customer service equates to protecting your brand. Protecting your brand equates to your profitability. It’s that simple. What’s the key to customer service? Figuring out, what was the customer’s expectations? Where did you fall short in meeting their expectations? Where did your product fall short in meeting the expectations? That’s your real mission. That’s it in a nutshell. That’s why I said this is a quick and simple one because that’s the bottom line. They had an expectation and it wasn’t met. Your job is to educate yourself on why it wasn’t met.
That’s only coming by talking to them. Small talk at first, chatting, and then figuring out what they needed it for? Why did they want it? How did they select that one? How do they plan on using it? Once you figure those things out, then you’re able to provide a solution to the problem. You don’t try to give away the hows right away. What you try to do is sit back and say, “We have a much better system that would work and do the things that you are looking forward to doing that would meet and probably exceed your expectations, Mike. Let me go ahead and discount that for you and send it out to you.” Mike’s a little bit happy and reassures him that everything’s going to be okay.
Constant Outreach And Update Of Sales Process
The constant outreach with updates in sales process. What we’re talking about is constantly educating people in your company that’s either doing sales. Having continuing education about the different products or the services that you may offer so that they understand the benefits of those different services or products that are being offered, and how those benefits or services may meet the customer’s needs and expectations. That’s continuing education on either the services that your company offers or provides, what the product does and its benefits there, and being able to educate the customer on that.
Immediate automated response to their concerns. When a customer calls and they have a problem, it’s great to email, do a live chat, and everything like that, but nobody solves a problem like another human being. It’s been tested, it’s been proven, and it’s a fact. Stop emailing people the solution. Stop doing the little live chat in the chat room and stuff like that. All it’s doing is making them more unnerved. Get on the phone, Zoom, FaceTime, or whatever you need to get on and interact with that customer directly. They need to see you. They need to know they’re dealing with a real person. They need to know that you’re feeling their pain and you are understanding where they are coming from, and that must be immediate.
In my day and age, we didn’t have all of this technology to where somebody can just turn around in a matter of seconds and tweet something. You as a business owner, you want to be able to see your customer to see if you’re relating and getting across to them because you got to keep in mind, people come from all walks of life. People have different levels of understanding of information and comprehending. You got somebody sending out an email and you got a person that reads at, let’s say, a college level. If he gets an email that’s written on the fourth-grade level, he might feel a little offended. You’re not solving a problem. You’re getting farther away. You got someone that sends out an email and the person reads on a 3rd or 4th-grade level. He gets the email, he doesn’t understand the email, and he’s offended.
Email is good but email is not what you want to be doing. You want to be able to communicate with that person effectively. To effectively communicate with a person or another human being, you need to be seen. You need to get on a Zoom call, Skype, or whatever technology allows you to get on and talk to that person face-to-face so that there are no misunderstandings in their interpretation. There’s no loss in the interpretation of that email. No one’s getting offended, insulted, and no one’s having a misunderstanding because they can’t comprehend the email. I hope you guys all understand where I’m coming from and I hope I’m not offending anyone. If I am, that’s your problem because I’m telling you the truth. You need to be able to resolve that person’s problem. That person is your customer. If he or she gives you a bad name, it will travel like a wildfire.
It’s just one tweet, so don’t sit there and say, “We got to chat.” Forget that because you can lose interpretation. Don’t say, “We’ll send an email.” No. Face-to-face people. We all read, write, and comprehend on different levels. The only way you know that person is understanding is when you see them face-to-face, you can see their body language, read their body language, and they can see and read yours. We’re going to keep that 100. That’s important. While other companies are not doing that. “That’s not as cost-effective.” Yes, it is because it is going to save you time and money. Not only will it save you time and money, but it is going to give you the best opportunity to upsell your customer, keep your customer, and make him a happy customer. That’s the end goal. Stop looking at things in a negative way and start looking at, “Mike calls me up. We got a problem.” Great. That’s my opportunity to solve Mike’s problem, keep my customer, and also, if I do a great job, get new customers.
Mike’s going to go brag about me and say, “I had this problem.” It becomes a testimony. “I spoke to that guy, Solomon, and that guy not only solved my problem,” and stuff like that. “They’re good over there. Those guys know what they’re doing.” Mike’s going to say, “I bought some additional stuff that I needed, that I didn’t know I needed.” That’s the opportunity when you see it face-to-face. That’s the opportunity when you take the time to educate yourself on your customer when they have a problem. That’s when you’re able to figure out, when you’re taking the time and you’re truly concerned with their problem, it’s not you losing any money and not you or your people losing a sale. Screw that. If you do your job and figure out why their expectation wasn’t met, you will be able to solve their problem.
You cannot run a business without customers.
Keep your customer, get referrals from them. Upsell some other stuff to them that they probably needed in the first time when you didn’t do your job or one of your people didn’t do their job the first time. It’s important, people. Please remember that. Customer service is the brain center for problem-solving. Customer service is an opportunity to solve everyone’s problems. It’s where the brain is working. That’s the brain of your company. It’s how your company works. It’s your mission statement. It’s what’s going to keep you in business. If Johnny is looking for, let’s say, a bottle of water to cover twelve feet. He buys it and it doesn’t cover twelve feet and Johnny’s mad. I got to solve this problem. One, why has Johnny ever received this bottle in the first place? That’s the first problem, but that is not Johnny’s problem. That’s my problem. That’s what I mean by the brain.
You got to turn around, and you got to take the opportunity to figure out the problems. That’s what the brain center is. Customer service is the brain to solve problems. For our young people, think of it like this. You have customer service and you take all the different problems that you can think of. You put them in the customer service department and customer service needs to solve all of those different problems and need to come up with their appropriate rebuttals. I don’t just mean rebuttals and coming up with something. What I mean is coming up with the appropriate rebuttals of why this was done.
Simply put, maybe somebody didn’t read the package or your salesperson didn’t read the package. You’re coming up with the rebuttals. You’re going through the information. I got some cameras on me. If I don’t know how to work the camera, I’ll call the tech force or whatever and they’ll try to walk me through it. I’ll tell them no problem but because they have already brainstormed every particular problem a customer could have, they can pull it up on their computer and they can begin to talk about it. That’s what we’re talking about the brain. The customer service is designed to solve everybody’s problem. Whatever potential problem your customer can have, you want to be able to solve it.
Making customers a priority. You can’t run a business without customers. Customer satisfaction is your only priority because inventory that is sitting there is dead inventory. I know somebody’s going to call me and say, “I don’t have inventory. We sell and then it gets delivered.” It’s the same thing. Whether it comes directly from a distribution center, you’re still holding inventory. If you’re not holding inventory, the accounting way would look at it under a gap or anything like that. Here’s what you’re doing. Your marketing, advertising, and you got this whole system set up to be able to sell something. If you can’t sell it, it’s costing you money. Every day that goes by that you’re not making a sale, I’m going to call that, for lack of anything else, that’s you holding inventory. You’re losing money because your money is not making money. It’s not turning.
The inventory in this sense is the money that is tied up in your advertising dollars. What you’ve got to do is make sure to make your customers your priority. How do you do that? You focus on what their needs are. You do market research. Determine ahead of time, what is it that my customers are going to be looking for? What do they want? Why do they need this? How does this help them? How would this aid them? You make them your priority. You train your customer service people on the products and on every single rebuttal and situation that could possibly arise out of this scenario or with this particular product. That’s what you’re doing. It’s training. In my conclusion, you want to protect your brand and your reputation. How you protect your brand and your reputation is by training your service people, salespeople, and everyone in your company on the various products.
You take the time and you look at every possible situation that could arise from a product or from a customer being unhappy, dissatisfied, or their expectations not being met. You take the time to think about every single scenario so that you can first come up with the appropriate rebuttals and answers to that. Third, you care about the customer. You show them that you care about them and their needs matter to you. Everyone, I want to thank you for reading this blog. It’s been wonderful sharing with you about this. I made millions. I plan on keeping millions and making millions some more but you have to keep your customers, satisfy them, and meet their expectations. You can’t let them down because the customers are your priority. Thank you for coming into MBA, Minority Business Access. Have fun. Have a wonderful day. Take it easy.