Is that your final answer?
A new American mantra. If you answer that question correctly it could be worth a million dollars. Wow! Do you watch and play along to see if you know the answers? Sure you do.
Well, what’s the point?
When your customer asks you a question, how do you answer?
Is the answer worth a million dollars to the customer?
Is that the BEST answer you can give? The million dollar answer?
Is that the answer the customer wants to hear?
Would you answer the same way if it was worth a million dollars?
REAL WORLD: Customer calls, tells you the story, asks a question, you transfer the call, someone else picks up the phone and customer has to repeat the story again, other person says that someone else can better help, and transfers you without another word, and customer now has to repeat the story AGAIN — or worse — gets a voicemail and has to wait (sometimes for days) for a returned call.
REAL, REAL WORLD: Try to get three people in a row in ANY company without getting AT LEAST one voice mail. Go on — I dare you.
OK, let’s address the answers themselves starting with the bad ones.Here are ten answers not worth 10 cents:
1. That’s our policy.
2. There’s nothing I can do.
3. That’s not my job.
4. Please don’t speak to me like that.
5. I’m just doing my job.
6. That’s the way we’ve been doing it for years.
7. My boss will tell you the same thing.
8. I leave at 5pm. I’ll try to get to this tomorrow if I have time.
9. You’ll have to send that in writing.
10. I can’t process anything without your account number.
10.5 I’m going to terminate this call (The dumbest of them all. Why hang up on the people who feed your children?)
Initial responses you can give to make the customer feel important and valued:
1. Great question. It’s asked frequently. I believe I can help you.
2. That’s my favorite question.
3. This is your lucky day — I’m an expert at that and love to help customers.TIP: You, as the recipient of the question, may want to ask one or two questions back to the customer to clarify or agree on what they expect as an acceptable answer.
Here’s a few ways to deliver the MILLION DOLLAR answer:
1. Answer it yourself. The person calling only wants an answer — not a run-around.
2. Ask someone else while the customer waits and listens to something worthwhile on-hold.
3. Get the customer’s phone number and get the answer yourself and call the customer back within a promised time-frame.
4. Get the customer’s phone number and have the right person call back with an answer within a promised time-frame.
4.5 Follow-up after the call to be certain everything was OK.
TIPS to improve answers:BIG TIP: The best way to improve is list the questions most frequently asked and develop the BEST POSSIBLE responses IN ADVANCE. BIGGER TIP: Don’t deflect the calls. Do whatever it takes behind the scenes to make things (appear) seamless to the customer.BIGGEST TIP: Review your last twenty five calls and log your next twenty-five calls to determine what you’ve been doing and what you are doing.
Another million dollar idea: Randy Rosler CCO (Chief Card Officer) of IntroKnocks, a company that specializes in business to business greeting cards, has a complete line of cards that feature a million dollar bill as part of the message. “Thanks a million for your business” says the card, and inside is a million dollar bill. Cool. They are innovative and (more important) they impress the recipient.
When a customer calls, they are asking for help or wanting to place an order. How you treat them determines what will happen next. If you treat them like a million dollars, they will stay (and tell others). If you don’t, your competition is just a phone call away.
Free GitBit… Want a free set of thank you cards and a few million dollar bills? By special arrangement with IntroKnocks to readers of Sales Moves, you can get a free sample set of million dollar cards mailed to you. Just fax your company letterhead with your name, email address, and write the secret word, MILLION, to 704-333-1011.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org