Great customer service creates repeat customers and spreads positive word of mouth – two invaluable revenue channels for electrical distributors. A study by the Harvard Business Review shows that increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits by anywhere from 25% to 95%. Obtaining customers in the electrical wholesale space takes a great deal of effort. Providing great service is the easiest way to ensure that you retain your customers and the revenue opportunities that come along with them.
While there’s no shortcut to making amazing customer service the focal point of your business. there are a few tried and true techniques to improve the customer experience that you and your fellow teammates can use.
- Lead with Positive Language and Solutions – It’s all about how you say things. Even if you’re delivering bad news, there is a way to sugar coat it for customers. Rather than saying, “we don’t have that part/product right now,” turn it into a productive solution. Instead say: “We expect it to be available next week. What is the best way to contact you once it arrives?”
Do you see the difference? The first response is dismissive and does not offer a solution. But the second is informative, confident, and proactive. When considering how to respond, take a quick moment to get rid of the negative words (can’t, won’t) and instead, tell the customer what you can do.
- Create a Personalized Experience – A personal touch is the best way to let your prospects know that they are a priority. When you talk to a customer, remember their name, and use it throughout the conversation (but don’t overuse it so it sounds fake). To show that you’re listening, mention something they said earlier. Your customers will appreciate this personalization and will likely rave about your company. This seems obvious, but it still doesn’t happen as often as it should. No one wants to hear “Sir” or “Ma’am”! Being professional and being friendly are not mutually exclusive. Make it a point to remember and address your customers by their name whenever possible.
- Power to the People! – A common frustration when it comes to solving customer issues is the lack of autonomy to provide solutions due to company restrictions or policies. The people tasked with solving customer problems must be empowered to provide necessary solutions. Enable your team to go above and beyond with their service by giving them the ability to take necessary actions to resolve a situation. As much as possible, eliminate the need to “ask a manager” or “get permission” to make things right.
- Be Responsive – Never underestimate the importance of a quick reply to a customer. At DWC, when a customer submits a quote request through our customer portal, they can expect a response from an Account Manager in about 6 minutes. Establishing policies and defining expectations around responding to customer needs can go a long way toward customers never having to wait for an answer.
- Be Grateful – Don’t be stingy with your gratitude! Take the time to send personalized notes and communicate with customers. The easiest way for electrical distributors to get repeat business and referrals is taking time to say thank you. It’s that simple! Some fun ways to thank customers for their business include personalized videos, hand-written notes, gifts, discounts, shout-outs on social media, and meeting them in person. Whether it’s solving a problem for them or thanking them for their business; make sure your customers feel appreciated.
What does your electrical distributor do to make the customer experience as good as it can be? Please share your success in the comments below.