Pitfalls of the Customer Service/Sales Profile

There are two common pitfalls that cause individuals and departments to become misaligned around their Customer Service/Sales Profile.

Focusing on the top: It’s personally and professionally satisfying to have customer advocates. Human nature yearns for that positive affirmation. Beware of taking their praise so much to heart that you begin to think that anyone who isn’t an advocate is just too picky and hard to please.

Focusing on the front door:

Initial transactions are critical, but they’re only step in the customer relationship. When a rush of activity comes and especially when it stays it’s easy to get caught up in processing customers through faster and faster. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, someone else is waiting to be served! Yet, when the rush is over and you’re waiting in vain for the next new customer, all those initial transaction will be looking for someone else, someone more service oriented for their next transaction.

CRM and Your Profile:

So, what is your Customer Service / Sales Profile? Are you operating as a Pyramid? As an Hourglass? Or as a Hexagon? It’s important to know what kind of customer relationships you’ve been creating so that you can be thoughtful and strategic in choosing what kind of customer relationships you want to create from point forward.

What works about your current profile? And what would you like to change? The answers to these questions will help to shape your CRM strategy. You will find that it’s easier to align your team and organization around a clear and consistent CRM strategy if you all share a common vision of your Customer Service/Sales Profile. Managers have to check with regards to their customers the following:

1. Where is your customer relationship emphasis? Is it on creating initial or stand alone transaction? Is it repeat customers? Or do customer advocates drive your success?
2. You can’t have a customer relationship without service and sales working together, creating positive experiences for the customers who give you the money and for everyone else at the customer site who touches or is touched by your product.
3. The pyramid Profile is the most common. Initial transactions lead naturally to repeat business and a percentage of those repeat customers move into advocacy.
4. The Hourglass Profile describes relationships with customers where the buying cycle is long. The focus is on turning customers into advocates based on their initial experience with you.
5. The Hexagon Profile represents an organization at risk. It may seem stable, but it lacks a strong base of initial transactions and has few customer advocates to help drive new marketing efforts.

The natural profile for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles is the Hourglass. Purchasers of the prized bikes quickly become advocates. In fact, they are often so anxious to be part of the Harley Davidson family that they are advocates even before taking title to their new machine.

When demand for these classic vehicles exceeded supply, the company avoided moving into a complacent Hexagon Profile by creating a special community for bikers to be. This involved purchasers in the initial transaction even though it could take up to two years to receive their product.

Use customer satisfaction surveys and focus groups to find out both what satisfies and what disappoints customers. If you aren’t getting any complaints, you aren’t asking the right questions or right people.

A travel agency owner we know shared a hard lesson he learned during one of the airlines fare wars. Customers were calling night and day, on hold for 30, 40 minutes or more waiting to talk to an agent and agents were doggedly working to get to everyone. Most of them were people who would never called us before and probably won’t call us again. And while they were tied up with them, lots of regular customers got frustrated and mad,, and some have left. They felt owed to them to serve them first. They are right as old customers in thinking so. In conclusion don’t treat all customers the same, old and regular customers must get the priority and new ones to be taken care appropriately.