7 Effective Ways to Handle a Customer Complaint

7 Effective Ways to Handle a Customer Complaint

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No matter how great your business or product is, there is always going to be dissatisfied customers here and there.

The Customer Is Always Right

The customer might be genuinely disappointed or could be displeased with a small issue. Any type of complaint should be handled carefully since every customer is important. If it is not handled carefully, you risk losing a profitable customer and they may leave a negative review on social media where it would influence others to avoid your company.

These are seven ways to effectively handle a customer complaint.

Listen

When a customer is angry with you, it is important to stay calm, not to rebuttal, and listen to what they have to say. Make sure not to admit that something is wrong when in fact it is not. The best to approach this is to recognize their feelings by saying statements such as, “I understand that you are very irritated about that”.

Be Objective

It is natural to feel defensive and offended when someone is attacking you, but try your best to be objective. Do not react emotionally, put your feelings aside and react in a way that is best for your business. The best outcome when it comes to a customer complaint is to wait till they have calmed down and come up with a solution that makes them happy and ensures that they would come back. If anything, use the complaint as feedback and implement it to your business to avoid the same complaint in the future.

Clarify

To understand what has happened, calmly ask the customer open-ended questions. Some examples of these questions are, “Can you explain what happened?” or “When did the problem first occur?”.

Empathise

Even if you think the customer is not right, you have to make them feel that they are validated by empathizing with them. Only when customers feel that they are listened to and understood, then they would open the gate to think about any of the solutions you throw at them.

Take A Break

If you feel that the complaint is stressing you out, you may need to take break from the situation by letting them know that you will look into the situation and get back to them. Breaks allow you to calm down and look at the situation more clearly. A good way to relieve yourself from the stress is to rant about the customer’s complaint to someone else during your break. It is important to remember that you are human and you have emotions too.

Remember its’s Never Too Late to Apologize

When a consumer has sincerely been let down by your product or business, apologize to them by genuinely and respectfully showing you regret what had happened and that you are sorry. This is the chance for you to restate the values of your company and recognizing what happened to them was not okay. An example of an apology would be, “I am truly sorry, you should not have gone through that. This is not the service that we aim to achieve or offer, but I would like to resolve this situation.”

Fix It ASAP

Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody has those days. But it all matters on how you fix the mistake. This would be your opportunity to show how dedicated you are to your customers and that you implement your company values. You can do this by addressing the problem, and letting them know that it will never happen again, or solving the problem and rewarding them something for free as an apology.

Digital and Analytics – Moving forward in Sales

Digital and Analytics – Moving forward in Sales

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Most business leaders are fully aware that in order to keep their sales teams up to date, they need to invest in sales automation and associated software that have become an indispensable part of sales and operations. 

Role of Digital and Analytics

The truth however is that mere automation is not enough. Only by harnessing the power of digital and analytics, it will be possible to identify, drive and even scale meaningful changes that will serve a company well. Companies who implement these changes in a disciplined way undeniably reap benefits, both in the short and long terms. 

Best Practices

It will pay off well, if business leaders bear in mind the following points 
  1. Mere automation is not going to significantly increase sales performance. 
  1. It is important to identify the intelligence that is required. While the market is awash with several cool intelligence and analytics products, not all of them will serve your sales reps. Involve the sales reps in the process, use data to capture the effect of all sales and then use the insights to drive revenue. 
  1. The sales leaders need to focus on capabilities that make a difference. The  parameters that will greatly influence the sales performance is the size of the pipeline and conversion rate, and ideas that are in line with overall transformation vision of the company. 
  1. Deploy the analytics tools in skill management and development. Identify the skills and strengths of your sales personnel. Simultaneously, gaps in skills will become evident.  Relevant and personalised training can be provided to your sales force. 
  2. Beat the drum! Make sure you demonstrate progress to the team and stake holders. Every small win, real-time insights and news about individual contribution will spread a positive feeling about the goal. Further, this kind of communication will make the team feel the progress they are making, motivating them to do more. 
Over all, digital and analytics tools can significantly enhance a sales capacity. However, it is important that there is a clear vision in sight and the tool should be used to achieve the same. The tool must be a significant part of a pragmatic, complete and integrated solution.
The human factor in a digital sales world

The human factor in a digital sales world

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The Human vs. Digital debate has been an ongoing one for years now.  Traditional sales folk vouch by face-to-face conversations, while e-commerce sales units think that everything needs to be made digital. While it would be just outright vacuous to state that digital is not important for sales, it would be equally mindless to dismiss the importance of the human touch in sales.

B2B Sales Scenario

In fact, B2B sales leaders employing effective digital achieve a several fold growth compared to their peers who do not employ the same level of digital in their operations. However, various surveys have highlighted a very interesting fact – Customers love the human touch backed by great digital interactions. It is however a very tricky balance, because the one thing that annoys customers is too much interaction. There are no tried and tested recipes to get the human-digital ratio right in the business. Businesses need to create the right human-digital proportion that works for their customers and operations. Research shows that B2B customers want both human and digital interactions on their buying journey, preferring one over the other at various stages.

Finding the right balance

When researching a new product or service the majority of customers who enjoy digital, still want human interaction. In the evaluation and consideration stages, customers mainly prefer digital tools that provide factual information, like a comparison tool and reviews. Again, post purchase, during renewal, cross-selling and upselling, digital tools remain much preferred. The trick is to identify where human interaction is most wanted and ensure it is provided – either as expertise available via a web chat or simply having a person pick up the phone when a potential customer rings.

Invest wisely

Companies also need to invest in digital where it is most valued and where digital can enable humans to do a better job of interacting with customers when the human touch is required. Digitally enabled tools can help enormously to reduce slow turnaround times, for example by connecting customers with experts via a web chat. By taking stock and analysing the sales performance of the recent past, it will be possible to identify areas of improvement. Sales leaders must then focus on whether they can implement the change digitally or by introducing some human interaction there. Either way, the optimal digital-human balance is a proven factor in boosting sales performance.
Ways to Conquer the Changing Sales Environment

Ways to Conquer the Changing Sales Environment

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Adapting to change is necessary for surviving in a business environment. The advent of technology has shifted the very dynamics of a typical sales process. Sales executives are forced to step up their sales strategies due to changing consumer behaviour.  

Here are few methods you can adapt to conquer the current sales environment. 

Right Sales Representative 

Hiring the right sales representative is a game changer. A well informed and able salesperson can dramatically change the buying process. But successful companies hire sales representatives who are not only willing to be process oriented but also open to the notion of continuous improvement. Also make sure that the sales representative acts as a facilitator between the company and the buyers.  

Retaining Employees 

Companies are forming policies that help in retaining the best talent. Retaining the best sales representatives by providing aid for their self-development and growth will benefit the firm in the long run. A survey conducted by Harvard in the year 2006 showed that firms that retained the best sales representatives had greater than average tenure of sales staff, higher percentage of reps meeting the quota, higher average deal size and shorter than average sale cycle.  

Following Sales process 

Every company has a standardized and defined sales procedure. But very few sales executive follow the prescribed procedure. Successful firms monitor and provide feedback on salesperson’s use of the standard process. These organizations amend the process when they identify even minor changes in market conditions. These companies also have higher performance rating and are a formidable competition.   

Understanding Buyers 

Though some companies formalize the selling process, very few try to understand the buying process. Keep a track on buyer’s process by understanding the opportunity, the budget allocation and by identifying key buying influences. A proper sales representative should be able to forecast the buyer’s actions and adapt this strategy accordingly.  

Marketing 

Nowadays consumers are well informed about the product even before the meeting with the salesperson. A customer’s first impression of the product is gathered from the internet and other online reviews.  Hence, a firm should focus on the marketing aspect of the product. Sales department needs to focus more on how the product reaches the consumer to increase the possibility of a sale.  

Technology 

The gadgets and gizmos available today are focused on making sales transaction both efficient and effective. Firms use data analysis to monitor the sales process and collect data which benefit in understanding the market change. Having data-mining tools built into the CRM application and categorizing and storing the collected data in an accessible manner will benefit all businesses.  

Transparency 

Salesmen who are transparent to the buyers from the beginning are often more successful at closing a deal. Such representatives have constantly explained what they wanted and tried to reach the top decision maker. These clear and on-going efforts to get to the decision maker can produce a positive pressure on the outcome of the deals. Being open to the buyers and explaining your reasons to them can have a progressive effect on the sales process. 

It’s important to remember that the process of selling is both an art and science. It can be highly automated and process oriented but has scope for improvement and development.



Emerging Sales Trends

Emerging Sales Trends

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Evolution and innovation are an inevitable part of any environment. This is true for any business settings. The components involved in a sales process are changing. These changes are changing dynamics between a customer and seller and even the way a company views its competition, product and service.  An ideal sales representative will understand and monitor these changes and develop an appropriate sales strategy. 

Given below are the major changes in the sales environment: 

1. Unlimited access to information 

Before the advent of internet, only the sales representatives had information regarding their products. They kept the data sheets, reference information and price list. Now, the unrivalled power of the Web has quickly turned the table for the consumers. Buyers can easily get the required information online not only from the seller but from other buyers and third parties. The power of negotiation has shifted and consumers are armed with the needed information even before they meet the sales representative.  

2. Influence of  Social Media 

Many businessmen quickly dismiss social media as a medium of entertainment. This is a far cry from reality. It is a tool for communication, information and collaboration. It can also be easily assimilated into the sales process.  Online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and various blogs are used for marketing purposes. It serves as a link between the company and the consumer. Many consumers often review the products and rate them which can ultimately affect your customer base. 

3. Influence of  Technology 

Technology has not only improved the socializing platforms but has even affected business. There are various tools and applications available to a sales representative to improve the sales process. Cloud Computing, Internet, CRM applications and other mobile applications has shortened the sales cycle, improved connection with customers and simplified data storage and accessibility. Technology is touching every facet of the sales process and making the process more competent and operative than ever before.  

4. Different decision makers 

Another trend noticed in the present era is the way how buyers make their decisions. It has been long believed that an “economic decision maker”, that is, a single individual holds the ultimate responsibility for the decision to buy.  But in the current age there are various committees where multiple layers of approval are needed to finally close the deal. This has significantly increased the average length of sales cycle in the last decade. An efficient sales representative will take this process into consideration and build a strategy is has the support of all the major stakeholders. 

5. Current Lifestyle 

Technology has made man’s life fast and busy. Therefore, a simple solution or regular means of communication will not grab the attention of the customer. Sales representatives must be creative and hardworking to survive in a fast environment. There is also a shift from personal relationships to a more objective and formal relationship between the buyer and seller. Consecutively, sales process has become more complex.  

As said by William Pollard, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement.” To remain constant in an ever-changing world will put an end to the development of your business. Age old methods and tools are no longer efficient is a technologically driven world.  

Sales strategies to boost business growth

Sales strategies to boost business growth

Sales are everything to a business. Without sales, any business will be certain to fail. There are many strategies to increase sales that can lead to proper business growth. The way to generate sales will ultimately depend on many factors, such as business, industry, and location. Here are some creative ways to increase sales.
Customer Relationship
Building customer relationship is a traditional method that has withstood the test of time. Focus on building a long term relationship with customers.
Give them opportunities to provide feedback and listen to their problems.
Conduct surveys that provide further insight into their shopping habits.
Communicate with customers regularly on new deals and offers.
Ultimately providing good customer service will lead to building a loyal relationship that increases the customer base.
Power of Web
Take advantage of the modern day technologies and use online resources.
Social media is a good way to promote products and reach customers on a large scale.
Build customer base by creating an easy-to-use website, presenting clear contact information, and providing excellent customer service.
Selling through a website is cheaper and can reach millions of customers.
Online services remove the constrain of physically going to a shop and can vastly boost sales.
Sales Resources
Sales mechanics involves heavy planning and managing. Improving the process of creating a product, marketing it and ultimately selling it will lead to better sales.
Create the effective channel for sales. Whether it is a retail chain or an online business, invest in schemes that will improve the transaction between the company and customer.
Develop a sales playbook structure that includes prospecting, cost and training for sales support.
Add value to the products in the form of customer service and product quality. Aim to provide a long lasting impression in customer’s mind regarding the product and the service.

Building Credibility
Having credibility or a good name will lead to customers finding the company’s products. This is also called ‘discovery based selling’ and is the easiest form of procuring a sale.
Make the company known to the customers through a carefully managed social media and PR strategy.
Get rid of all negative thoughts that create gossips and negative behaviour from the company.
Know your company and the products you sell. Understand the set goals and the very purpose your enterprise. Only then can you make your products become irresistible and gain attention from the target audience.

Sales are the lifeblood of every business. Knowing how to generate and track sales is vital for growing a company. Companies can grow exponentially from creating a good sales strategy and implementing it.