Thursday, November 21, 2013

When the Best Service is Not to Serve

As Sales Representatives our customers are the reason for our business. Without them we have no business and providing good customer service is our primary job. In our efforts to get and keep customers we sometimes fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people.  We feel that we must do whatever it takes to make customers happy and get the order, especially when we are working hard to build our business. This can result in us being overwhelmed, or possibly risking our business for the sake of making a customer happy. To keep our business healthy we must learn when it is okay to say "I am not the Avon Lady for you".  

There will be rare cases when the best service we can provide for someone is NOT to serve them.  If a potential customer needs someone who delivers to their home on Monday morning and you work another job on Monday mornings you would be unable to meet with that customer at that time.  If none of the alternatives you can offer such as ordering through your website, or having the customer leave a check under that mat so you can drop off the order when they are not home then the best thing for that customer would be to refer them to another representative who's schedule is more compatible.  

The same principal applies to customers who may be in conflict with a practice or policy that you have set for your business.  For example if you have decided that your business runs more smoothly when customers pay for orders when they are placed then a customer who is not willing to pay in advance may not be an ideal customer for you. You would have to decide if can afford to allow an exception to your policy and if you are willing to do it for that customer. 

When deciding how far you are willing to compromise for a customer you really have to consider if it's worth the compromise. For example, you have decided that you will always take off Saturday mornings to spend with your family. A customer who you normally deliver to during the week will be going out of town and will only be available on a Saturday morning. Making a one time accommodation is probably going to be worth it, especially if it is a good customer.  That's different from someone who is regularly only available on Saturdays. 

If you haven't already, take the time to decide what your policies for your business will be and what alternatives you can offer to prospects if there is a conflict with those policies and what exceptions you can make. And it goes without saying that any customer who is disrespectful or extremely unpleasant is one you can feel free to cut loose.  There are plenty of customers out there for representative who are looking for them.  When you find them offer them the best service you are able and they will bring you more customers worth having. 

Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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