Don’t Lose Customers to Bad Service

September 1, 2004 by admin

Everyone in your company is involved in service. They may not have the service rep designation, but anyone who interacts with a customer is in service. When a customer contacts Sam in service to complain about the last batch of electric drills, what happens when Wanda the sales rep calls on that customer to pitch a new product or when Jennifer in accounting sends a dunning letter?
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to visualize the scenario. The conversation usually begins with a variation of “What’s the matter with you people?” and deteriorates from there. You end up tap dancing, backtracking and apologizing. Your customer threatens to find another supplier and your employees feel helpless.

The competition heats up

These are tough times for any business – small or large. Customer loyalty is coming at a higher price and it feels like the customer has moved from being a king to acting like a dictator, with expectations of price points, discounts, free delivery, and 24/7 service.
Customers used to be willing to pay a bit more if they could get better service – and they assumed that a small business could provide personalized service. This isn’t true any more, as SMBs are finding out. Personalized service may be possible when one person handles everything in your small company, but when you expand beyond that, “personalized” is out the door if people don’t share information.
How does a small company take advantage of the same efficiencies in CRM as large companies without breaking the bank? It doesn’t take a big system or a big approach. You can still increase your level of service and compete with bigger companies, even though you have fewer customers.

Act, don’t react

Take the example of Sandra, the sales manager. She assigns leads to her sales reps, and at the end of the week she runs a report to determine the status of all leads. After sorting the report by status so that all leads without follow-up are listed first, she notes the name of the responsible sales rep, goes into the mail system and sends the rep an e-mail to find out what happened. Good strategy.
Here’s an even better strategy. When Sandra enters a lead in an integrated CRM system, the appropriate sales rep is alerted automatically about the new customer and gets a link to detailed information about the lead. Based on workflow rules, if the sales rep doesn’t contact the lead within two days, Sandra gets an alert, with links to the sales rep and the lead.
Which approach is more efficient – and effective? Are you reactively controlling or proactively managing? Which approach saves time? It may not seem like much if you have one or two leads a month, but when your business is growing, you may be fielding hundreds of leads a week.
And with workflow and alerts that are triggered by exceptions, your managers don’t spend valuable time with people or opportunities that are on-track. Instead, they can focus on events and issues that are outside the norm.

New thinking

Anything that touches a customer is customer service, and nothing touches a customer like money – unless it is the product or service. Everyone in your company is involved in customer service. Make sure each employee has the tools they need to keep the customers calling – not with a problem, but with new business.
Look to SAP Business One, with enhanced CRM capabilities. SAP Business One is built from the ground up to integrate all the capabilities needed by small and midsize businesses. Employees can use the same software that runs the business to manage relationships with customers. They can view financial reports, inventory information, customer accounts, sales and contract information, and employee records – all from the same desktop. And they can see how this information relates to all activities of the business, namely sales, accounting, and service.

Meet all your business needs

SAP Business One delivers out-of-the-box software that addresses all your business needs. SAP also has an extensive network of experienced partners who are developing customized versions with additional capabilities. Standard or customized – it’s your choice.

Brenda Mackay

Brenda Mackay

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