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leadership

The Customer Service Maxim “Under Promise And Over Deliver” Is A Lie!

For the next few weeks we’ll be diving deep into another important topic… World-class customer service. 

In today’s post we will cover if the cliche phrase, “Under promise and over deliver” is a good plan for your business. Why you should build a team that represents the demographics of your community, how you should treat your customers as if they are your loved ones, why you need to know your best customers by name, and much much more. 

As kingdom entrepreneurs and business leaders it is important that we provide the best customer service possible. You didn’t get into your position because you lacked in this area, but is your team representing your customer service values well? Have you handed off the tricks of the trade that you’ve developed after climbing the ladder all these years? 

After reading this post you will be reminded of what helped you to get where you are, you will be encouraged to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders, and you will be empowered with the tactics to do just that.


Your team’s demographics should match your customers

Many years ago I led a small Best Buy store in Michigan. The neighboring city to my store was a beautiful beach community home to one of Michigan’s most underrated beaches. The community directly surrounding my store was very depressed and the beach community was affluent. Both of these cities shopped at my store.

Right across the street from my store was a Walmart. At first their electronics department did a much better job than my store at reaching the customers in my store’s backyard and I could not figure out why.

It wasn’t until I was walking around the Walmart picking up groceries that I had an ah-ha moment. 

“My store’s employees are all from the neighboring city and we don’t have hardly any team members from the surrounding neighborhoods.” 

We are not mirroring half of the customers in our store’s community! 

Looking around me in the checkout line I noticed that many of the employees were speaking Spanish with the customers. Wow!

None of my current employees speak Spanish.

When I opened my eyes and looked at my community and the customers we were hoping to serve I saw that we had been doing a terrible job. Something had to be done.

I began reviewing the applications coming in for jobs and found many applicants that listed fluency in Spanish and English.

Within six months I hired one dozen team members that spoke Spanish. I created a board hanging on an art easel at the entrance that was in Spanish stating, “Welcome to our store! These employees will be happy to assist you in Spanish.” 

At the beginning of each shift the employee that worked at the front door hung the faces and the names of the team members working that spoke Spanish. Now our Spanish speaking customers entering the building would know who could help them.

The change was revolutionary! We were finally able to serve our entire community. More applications started to flow in and our customers began sharing that we were focusing on being a bi-lingual store. At the time Best Buy had a Rosetta Stone partnership and some of my team actually signed up to start learning Spanish. How cool is that? 

If you aren’t sold yet then understand this. By connecting with our local community and increasing the number of people we were able to serve our sales performance grew exponentially. That year my store was among the top 1% performing stores in all of Best Buy. The company sent our leadership team on an all expenses paid trip to Puerto Rico and the other stores in our district had to cover our building. Who knew that doing the right thing could result in such growth in sales?


What if your grandmother entered your building?

If your grandmother walked into your building, which employee on your team would you want to help her?

If you look around and you can’t think of anyone and end up helping her yourself then you probably have a customer service problem.

Why?

Because if you don’t trust your team to help your grandmother, they should not be helping any of your other customers either.

If you can think of two or three individuals you are comfortable with helping your family then you are off to a good start. 

What do these all star employees do that you can share with the rest of their peers?

  • Do they have more knowledge of your products and services?
  • Are they patient, do they ask a lot of questions, and are they good listeners?
  • Do they have a happy spirit that is contagious and puts everyone in a better mood when they are around?
  • Have you spent a lot of time and effort teaching developing them and teaching them all the tricks of the trade?

Once you answer these questions you can start to create a development and coaching plan to go from three rockstars to six. Your customers deserve the best employees and you are doing a disservice to them if you aren’t constantly raising the bar for your team. 

Or maybe you have employees that are in the incorrect roles? 

Well this is possible too. If this is the case you will need to assign them a new role where they can flourish. Have a conversation with them about their goals. What are they looking to do with their life? How can you position them to succeed in these goals. Maybe the job they are doing right now just isn’t the right one. This is why a timely performance driven quarterly review process is so important. But remember, you have to hold yourself accountable for their performance first. Are you doing everything you can do to help them succeed?  

Our teams are only as good as the weakest member on the team. 80% of your team’s sales are coming from just 20% of your team. So what are the other 80% of your team doing? 

You should always be putting your best people in front of your customers. You may only get one chance to represent your brand. Our customer’s attention is limited and their options infinite. If a customer has a bad experience after working with you, they probably won’t return.

“Ruby Newell-Legner, a twenty-five-year student of customer happiness, found that only 4 percent of customers actually voice their dissatisfaction to a business: a whopping 91 percent of dissatisfied customers simply don’t ever return. And with online reviews and social media, bad customer service tends to be talked about much more than praise for good customer service”

Company of One, by Paul Jarvis

Selling what customer’s need, not what they want

“Hi, I have been looking at this ASUS laptop with a 17” screen, quad core processor, 16GB graphics card, and a 1TB hard drive for $1,199.99.”

“Oh you have? That is great machine. But before I wrap that baby up for you, may I ask what you are going to be using it for?”

What are you going to be using it for?

A simple question, but never a simple answer. For most sales people an easy sale for over a grand that the customer was already looking at is when you hear a cha-ching sound somewhere in the background. You need to train your team to qualify a customer for a product before they close the sale.  

If the customer replies that they are just looking to surf the web, use Facebook, and Zoom with their grandkids do you really think they need a $1200 machine? I don’t think so! 

This is why it is important that your team gets to know your customers and ask them loads of questions. They should be asking dozens of lifestyle questions before they feel comfortable offering your products and services.

  • What makes them happy?
  • What research have they done?
  • Is there anything that they have seen that they like?
  • What are their fears?
  • Are they making a purchase for work or pleasure, or both?
  • Who are the other people that will be using this purchase?
  • And much much more…

Getting to know your customers and building a relationship with them will help your team to make a perfect offer and will prevent buyer’s remorse. 

When your team didn’t ask any questions and sent your customer home with that ASUS gaming machine she will be too embarrassed or disappointed to come back to your department and tell you. She will just head to the returns desk, return the laptop, and buy a more appropriate machine at the store down the street. 

Your co-worker will still be bragging about that big sales he made not knowing that the computer is now that open box machine sitting in your display case. 


Under promise and over deliver?

False! I believe we should always over promise and over deliver.

One of my favorite Bible verses and one of the first ones I memorized is Col 3:23, “Work with all of your heart as if for the Lord. Not for human masters.”

Would we offer God a two day turnaround and then give him our work in one day? No!

We would push everything else aside, give Him our undivided attention, and finish His work at our best quality as quickly as humanly possible. 

We must treat our clients and customers with this same level of intensity, each and every time. The cliche of under promising and over delivering is worn out and needs to be retired. Why would we as leaders for the Kingdom want to ever under promise?

Over promising and over delivering with all your work will make you stand out. You will never wonder where your next job will be coming from. You will always have more work than you can handle. You’ll have to learn to say no to the distractions and opportunities that come across your desk because you can’t take on too much and still continue to commit to your current level of service. 

Sounds like a pretty good problem to have if you ask me!

“The worst thing you can do is meet expectations one time, fall short another, and exceed every now and then. I guarantee you’ll drive your customers nuts and into the hands of the competition the first chance they get.”

Raving Fans, by Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles

Know your best customers by name

Keith is an auto mechanic and owner of a small shop in my town. When I drive up he always comes out from the shop and into the waiting room to shake my hand and say hello. He knows me by name, he knows my car, he knows my wife’s name, and he makes me feel special every time I need something in my car fixed. 

Anytime something goes wrong with the car I take it to Keith first. He’s fixed the fuel pump, an unexplainable sound underneath the hood, he replaces the brakes, has rotated the tires, and has completed countless oil changes. 

Keith doesn’t have to provide this level of service and I would still probably goto his shop. But he does. It is hard to find a mechanic you can trust and I fully trust Keith. Over the years I’ve watched him interact with his team and I’ve witnessed the values that drives his world-class customer service also transfer to his relationships with his employees. Maybe you would not consider an auto shop to your dream job, but there is no mistaking that Keith is a dream manager. I’ve seen many of the same employees working at his shop for years now. And just like retail, this is an industry that historically has excessive turnover. 

Who are your top five customers? 

And do you know them by name?

The power of being a business owner like Keith is impossible to measure. Are you noticing a trend here? This seems to be a similar takeaway with good customer service. It is just that powerful. 

Any guess on how I first heard of Keith’s shop? A good friend of mine whom I trust, referred me. Word of mouth is the Kingdom entrepreneur’s best friend. When you provide world-class customer service you will never have a shortage of work. 

“If your organization’s intentions transcend the mere act of selling a product or service, and it is brave enough to expose its heart and soul, people will respond. They will connect. They will like you. They will talk. They will buy.” 

The Thank You Economy, by Gary Vaynerchuk

Summary

Next time you are about to utter the phrase under promise and over deliver I want you to remember how you are better than that tired and cliché phrase. You and your team offer customer service that comes from the heart and is a positive service for your customers. When you are hiring new team members you must look for hires that have good hearts, are willing to learn, and have a big smile on their faces. 

Encourage your leadership team to dig in and find out who your best customers are. Print out their names and put them on the wall! They are the ones who own your building after all, aren’t they? If 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers then you need to know these customers, what makes them tick, and you need to assign your best sales people to manage their accounts. 

As a kingdom leader your team must provide a level of service that is unlike any other. So get to work!


Will you be the leader of your home and business?

Will you walk with the wise and become wise? (Proverbs 13:20)

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