Who Am I?By Christine Corelli
Article Date: 02-01-2008
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
I'm either your No. 1 fan or - your worst nightmare. How you treat me will decide which.
Who am I? Permit me, please, to describe myself...
I'm better educated, more individualistic, and more discriminating than my predecessors. I expect a lot more than they ever did, too. For example, if I call you on the phone to make any type of inquiry whatsoever, I expect you to be able to give me an answer in 10 seconds. I expect you to be easily available for me at any time, and I want a speedy response and efficiency - especially if I have a problem with my equipment.
I expect you and everyone who works in your dealer organization to be friendly, highly competent and knowledgeable. And I expect all of you to stand on your heads for me when necessary. I even expect you to anticipate my needs even before I become aware of any I may desire. If you know how, you'll be in a better position to keep me.
I expect you to not only know what I want, but I expect you to know what I'm willing to pay for it. And, if you cannot deliver what I want, when I want it, how I want it, and at the price I'm willing to pay for it, I'll go to one of your competitors who call me every day and are working hard to entice me to buy or rent equipment from them. Or, I'll find another source on the Internet where I can price shop.
Selling to me is more difficult than ever. That's because I'm more cynical and skeptical than ever. You might say it's a fact that I've become highly suspicious as to whether you are giving me a really fair price, and whether you're going to deliver what you say you're going to deliver, when you say you're going to deliver it, and not give me some excuse when you call to disappoint me. This is especially important when I need parts. Besides, I thought your brand proposition said, "Where quality and service go hand in hand."
Yes, I'm tough. I remember when your salesperson came to do a demo. Your guy was obviously well-trained in sales. But when he boasted, "We have very high levels of customer satisfaction and are known for it throughout this industry," my response was, Who cares?! Studies have proven that the amount of customer loyalty generated by customer satisfaction is only eight percent. Show me your numbers for customer loyalty and then I'll be impressed! If those numbers are high then I'll buy or rent from you.
I gave him a tough time, but he asked me all the right questions, provided all the right answers and showed me he cared about me and the success of my construction business more than writing up the order. So I gave it to him, but keep this in mind: He was lucky enough to have won me over, but you and everyone in your company better remember that I'm very demanding. I demand courtesy and respect. I want to be treated like a V.I.P. I want a consistently great experience.
If I'm wrong or mistaken about something, (how could I be, I'm always right, remember?) you'd be wise to simply say, "Perhaps there's been a misunderstanding."
By the way, if my country of origin is not the U.S., I expect you to be able to communicate with me and understand that although my culture may be different than yours, my hard-earned money is still green, and I wanted to be treated with the same importance as others.
If I become yours, I never want to have to worry about anything. I have enough worries with my business already. I'm impatient, too. Fair warning: As much as you want and need me, I can be dangerous to you - if my buying experience and every interaction with you isn't positive, I can become your strongest critic. I think of myself as your judge and the jury. And remember - I can be your executioner too. We construction people hang out a lot. If my experience with you is not positive in every aspect of the buying experience, I'll tell everyone about it.
On the positive side, if you do well by me, I can be your ambassador; I'll tell other equipment buyers about you. Just remember: I want the "ultimate customer experience." That requires you to have what I call, a "Sales-Service Excellence Culture" - where everyone in your organization recognizes that they, too, impact your bottom line.
Am I being too hard on you? I don't think so. I believe I'm doing you a favor by being blunt with you. Why? Because I'm the customer. I rule.
My advice to you is to take a good hard look at how I've come to you and where we are today. You captured my attention with your smart marketing and advertising strategy. Your sales person was persistent but professional, and I finally took his call. Then, he earned my trust through consultative selling and relationship building. He recognized that I am not only buying your equipment, I'm buying him! I trusted, and I purchased. So now, you need to keep me coming back to you. Hopefully for you, everyone in your company realizes that without me they don't get a paycheck. They should think and act as your brand ambassadors and treat me exceptionally well.
If they do, I'll keep coming back to you and send other buyers to you, as well. I'll not only become your loyal customer, but your greatest advocate.
Look at your equipment, your service department, your systems and procedures, and most important, how every person in your company treats me and each other. You can't provide great service on the outside, if you don't provide it on the inside. And you'll never be able to obtain high levels of customer loyalty.
Then, put yourself in my position and ask this pressing question:
Would you buy from you?
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