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Edition 327 – The Next Sale Starts Now

We’re 6 months into our new photocopier contract. The old beast was 5 years old and we made the decision to upgrade based on past experience that irrespective of use over time, things go wrong with age.

The provider, of course, knows about 3 months out that your lease is up for renewal. That’s when they start ringing you. Time to upgrade! Special one time offer! Prices will be increasing soon! You know the drill.

Until you’ve committed to a new one, you’re hounded like voters on Election Day at a polling booth. As the calls ramp up, it becomes annoying. In the end, you take a look at the glossy proposal they’ve sent you (in PDF form these days, not the spiral bound booklet of yore) and sign up. The service technician comes out, does the install, informs you of what is different to the old beast, then you’re off and running.

Over the past 6 weeks, the new beast has been making some odd noises. Think like a fan belt gone awry on an old car. It’s not happening all the time, but it’s annoying. I ask Trish to engage the provider and have them come out and run their eyes over the machine. It’s about at that point that “service” completely evaporates.

Your first call is to someone who tries to send you to their website. “We have a great FAQ section that will help you troubleshoot some of your problems”.

Once you’ve, firstly, found the FAQ section, then secondly, tried to decipher whether any of their standard issues & workarounds are like yours, the level of frustration starts to increase. FAQs aren’t helping to solve the fan belt noise.

A subsequent call, which also tries to send you back to the website, then wants you to perform a number of “self checks” ends in a grumpy customer demanding that a service technician comes to site and checks out the machine.

Whether its copiers or cars, dentists or restaurants, the next sale starts now….right in the middle of the current transaction. If a company goes from hounding you one minute to upgrade to deliberately avoiding sending out a service technician the next, it’s contributing to the sour taste in your mouth about re-engaging with that same business in the future.

The next time you engage with a business, take notice of how they deliver their standard service. Then take a moment to ask yourself:

  1. How do we do it here?
  2. Could we do it better?
  3. What’s the long term effect of continuing to do it the way we do it?
  4. What’s the long term effect of doing it better?

My guess is the greatest learning for your business and how you look after your clients will come from being a client yourself, on the receiving end of a transaction.

This Week’s Tip

“In my opinion, the best form of marketing is doing a good job at what it is you do.
Nothing more. Nothing less. Very simple.”