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    The Yellow Brick Road to a Happy Customer

    yellow-brick-road-happy-customers-600.jpgThe Yellow Brick Road. It would be rare to come across someone who was unfamiliar with this famous path. The one made of golden bricks where a young girl with ruby red slippers embarked on a journey to see the Wizard to help her return home.

    While lessons were learned along the way, this young girl was advised to follow this road because it would lead to good things. Much like the sales journey, there is a path you should followed that leads to happy customers. Lessons will be learned along this journey, and the knowledge gained can be used for future customer interactions.

    Your sales team takes on a lot of responsibilities, but taking this road—before, during, and after a sale—will lead them to happy customers.

    Before the sale

    Know your customers’ expectations:

    Customers often come to you with set expectations—expectations that they assume you already know. If you don’t meet these expectations—whether known or unknown—they are left unhappy and dissatisfied. Understanding your customers’ expectations is the start to a happy customer.

    Accurately anticipate the needs of your customer:

    Know what products and services that your customers need. Do that by familiarizing yourself with their business. By going the extra step, you’re better positioned to fulfill a void and you’re generating loyal, repeat customers along the way.

    Be a problem solver:

    You’ve already established that your customer has a need and that need stems from a problem that they either currently have or foresee having in the future. Learn your customers’ problems. By knowing the problem that your customer is facing, you are able to show them how your financial institution can solve that problem for them.

    Plan accordingly:

    Although not everything always goes as planned, it is still mandatory that a well-thought out plan be constructed. Train your employees to respond to possible questions that may arise, and be prepared for whatever may come up—not only during the sales process, but throughout their entire time with your institution.

    During the sale

    Be dedicated to customer service:

    Without customers, your institution would be nonexistent. They are the peanut butter to your jelly, the milk to your cookies, the sugar to your spice. Get the point? You need them and they need you—or someone like you. Don’t give them a reason to stray. When you provide your customers with exceptional customer service, it stays with them, leaving them satisfied and loyal.  

    Train your staff in customer service:

    Again, planning is essential to a happy customer. Map out how you will tackle employee training to provide a customer service experience that is memorable. Create general service standards, brush up on basic customer service skills, and make sure that EVERYONE is following customer service protocol. There is no better way than to lead by example. If your employees see that top management is providing the best customer service possible, it is easy for them to follow in those footsteps.

    Thank your customers:

    Thanking your customers is a small but effective way to produce happy customers. It can also be an inexpensive way to stand out among your competition. Make a call, send a handwritten note, or do something creative to show your appreciation for their business.

    After the sale

    Ask for feedback:

    Remember that it never hurts to ask. Everyone loves to be asked for their opinion. Plus if you begin to notice a trend of feedback from multiple customers, it’ll allow you to implement changes where necessary.

    Follow up with customers:

    Just because you have a happy new customer after a sale doesn’t mean that they go in a rolodex and are forgotten. Actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Continuous touch points with your customer is important and critical to keeping that customer happy.

    Have a plan to deal with dissatisfied customers:

    The world would be a boring place if everyone was always happy.  If the time arises where a customer expresses dissatisfaction—whether via email, phone, or social media—there must be a plan in place to handle the situation. Ensure that all of your staff is aware of the response and its executed plan when a customer becomes disgruntled. There is hope to making them happy again; you just need to make sure everyone is mindful in knowing how to achieve that goal.

    How to keep them coming back

    Don’t discard customer feedback:

    When a customer decides to provide their feedback, it should be taken to heart. Not all feedback will require an action plan or can influence change, but it’s worth your time and review. Remember, the insight that a customer can provide to you is truly priceless. But, it will only be effective if you are proactive with your response, should one be warranted.

    Exceed customers’ expectations:

    A lot of institutions meet the expectations of their customers, but it is rare to find one that exceeds them. Don’t lose sight of what is important to your customers. And, while new customers are always welcomed, retaining an existing customer can be less costly to your institution and may significantly boost your bottom-line profits.

    Who wouldn’t want happy customers? Happy customers make for loyal clientele and wonderful referrals. Surprisingly, a number of institutions miss the “satisfaction” mark and end up losing customers,—just because they are not happy. With careful planning, attentive customer service (pre, during, and post), and following the steps discussed, you are bound to have customers smiling from ear to ear. And, the beauty of this yellow brick road is that at the end of it, there is no wizard asking you to bring him the broom of a witch—there are only happy customers.

    Check out our infographic below! (Click the image to enlarge)

     YellowBrickRoad.png

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    Customer Service & Loyalty

    Victoria Penn

    Victoria Penn is the AVP of Marketing for SWBC. She manages a team of marketers that develop traditional and digital marketing strategies. She also leads the Content Marketing Strategy for SWBC.

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