Customer-service contact moments occur in a cycle that is consistent and predictable with most of your customers. It’s possible to prepare for your next customer contact moment through forecasting, planning and proactive training.
Below is a typical generic cycle-of-service diagram outlining the customer-relationship cycle:
Let’s say you are an independent financial advisor. Your cycle of service might look like this:
- Make contact. This will come from you handing out a business card, or answering an email from a potential client interested in your services.
- Build a relationship. Within the first few minutes of meeting your customer, you establish a rapport with them. Understand their financial needs and, most importantly, show them that you understand.
- Showcase your product. Present what you’re offering – the product that best meets your customer’s needs. You’ve built a relationship, so you understand their financial position and the kinds of finance, savings, investment and insurance products they require.
- Sell your product. Help your customer understand which option is best for them. Gauge when they are ready to make the purchase.
- Make the transaction. Make it as easy as possible for the customer to pay. Here you might sign them up for a monthly debit order to finance their investment.
- Deliver. Make sure the product is active, that their debit orders are coming off and being invested with the institution. Provide regular reports on their portfolio so they know how their investment is growing.
- Get feedback. Stay in touch with your client. Check how they enjoyed the service and the communication they get from you. Use this feedback to improve your service to them and your other customers.
The specifics of the cycle of service will vary from business to business, but will remain remarkably consistent, whether you’re selling hedge funds or frozen yoghurt.
Service Tip: Develop a customer service plan based around the cycle of service in your business. You can even develop scripts to be used as a reference at each stage of the cycle of service. Keep the human touch in all your interactions, but at all times you should know where you are in the service cycle, and what you’re trying to achieve. Put the needs of the customer first – don’t impose the cycle on them.