By Donna Wells
Hello and welcome back to ASK THE EXPERT! I hope you’ve had an amazing
winter, or as I refer to it, the planning season. Now, with spring around
the corner, it is time to handle a topic that comes up almost every time
I speak with dealers. The question is how do I handle the customer who
constantly complains about... my work, my employees, etc.? In other words,
can you help me with my customer service skills?
First, what is customer service? Customer service is taking care of your
customers’ needs and desires in a professional manner before, during and
after their purchase. Hmmm, how many times have you said to yourself,
“Wow, does that company (or employee) need to learn some customer service?”
More importantly, how many times has that been said about you, your employees
and your company? I look at my customer as my boss. I believe that being
self-employed means that every single person who spends money with me,
is my boss. If my team does not perform to the best of its ability on
each and every client’s jobsite, I most likely will not keep that client.
Or in other words, the client will “fire” me and search for another company
to perform my services. So, how do we improve our customer service? Allow
me to make a few suggestions.
Always be helpful, courteous and knowledgeable. These are the big three
in my opinion. Helping your clients understand what they are purchasing
will aid in building a long-term relationship. I look at each sales presentation
as a lecture. My potential client is my student, learning about window
film and gaining knowledge by asking questions. Regardless of how simple
the question is I always answer as if it is the first time I have ever
been asked that question. It will allow your client to relax and not think
of you as a sales person, but a teacher. Once the stigma of “sales person”
is removed it will be easier for you to close the sale at the end of the
Take the extra step. I always try to take the extra step and it is different
for every customer. For instance, I may drive 35 miles to deliver samples
to an architect who forgot to order samples and needs them that day. Or
I might do something as simple as sit at a kitchen table talking to a
customer about their family. People do notice when you take the extra
Think before you speak. When you tell a customer, that I’ll see you next
Tuesday, or my installers will be at your house at 8:30 a.m., or we will
credit you for 20’ of film on your next order… the list could go on and
on, DO IT! Do not make a commitment to a customer you cannot keep. Nothing
is more annoying than when someone says they are going to do something
and doesn’t do it. Think about how you would feel if you arranged your
entire day around an appointment and then the contractor does not show
up and doesn’t call to inform you about the situation. My advice, though
it may sting a little, is to make the call. The customer will appreciate
your courteousness and will continue to do business with you if you step
up to the plate and handle the situation like a professional.
Deal with complaints. No one likes hearing customers complain about bubbles,
hazy film, the backing sheet doesn’t release, etc. We all have had to
deal with legitimate complaints. Your customer has paid for your services
or product. Your customer has the right to bring problems to your attention.
Return the call. Many of us do not want to return the dreaded call. However,
if you return the call immediately, the customer is going to appreciate
your attentiveness. The longer you prolong speaking to the customer about
the issue, the more magnified the issue becomes. As an example, I recently
had an issue with the release liner not properly releasing from the film.
The manufacturer was extremely responsive to my problem. Not only did
my sales representative go the extra mile, but so did the vice president
of sales. My issues were addressed and handled and I would absolutely
recommend this manufacturer to someone else.
So, tomorrow, before you start your morning, think about how you are going
to improve your company’s customer service. Here’s food for thought, if
you improve your company’s customer service, do you think you could improve
your bottom line?
Donna Wells has worked in the window film industry since the 1980s and
is currently sole proprietor of Image Imagination in Huntington Beach,
Calif. Ms. Wells’ opinions are solely her own and not necessarily those
of this magazine.
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