In our job as sales staff, we say and do what we can to ensure that the people in front of us spend their hard earned cash with us in the end. Sometimes that’s an easy process, sometimes it’s like pulling teeth. But during the sales process, the sales person builds up a certain level of expectation to try and secure the sale. Often it is that level of expectation which can be the difference between a sale or not. As options and quality have risen in recent years, managing those levels of expectation is key to a happy customer.
If we were to compare customers now to customers ten years ago, I think many would agree that they have become more demanding and more discerning. Thanks to the internet and it’s ability to show options and information, customers now know quite rightly the varying qualities out there, what to look for, what to avoid etc. It has resulted in a more informed client base. What it has also resulted in is a more expectant customer. And that can be difficult to manage.
For me, the key to managing the expectations of the customers is to keep a steady line of communication open with the client. If you sign them up and hardly speak to them until the time of fitting, then it’s highly likely that the customer will not know what to expect when it comes to the day of fitting. They may not know how the windows and doors are going to be finished off, what the preparations are to make before the fitters arrive, when the final balance needs to be paid etc. If they are kept in the dark, they don’t know what to expect and can therefore cause your business problems if they report issues or are unhappy about something.
To keep a customer’s expectations at the right level, communicating with them often is key. Speaking with them at each key stage in the process will help keep them informed and know what to expect in terms of dates, times etc. So, that means organising a swift final survey after sign up. Then arranging a convenient fitting date with bags of time before the stated lead time. Confirming that date at least once before installers arrive to that customers know you’re on top of their contract and haven’t forgotten anything. Reporting any known issues to the customer during fitting. Asking for feedback from the client after fitting is a good idea as well. The aim of all of this of course is to ensure that the customer is happy and not able to lodge any complaints with your business, and importantly, for you to get paid at the end of the contract on time and in full.
The industry has often been guilty of raising the expectations of the customer very high at the start of the sales process, just for customers to be disappointed with the follow up service after. I think as an industry we need to be more grounded and honest at the start of the sales process, and ensure that follow up service and communications afterwards are regular and informative. That way, both business and customer should be happy at the end of the whole process.