What It Takes to Make a Loyal Customer

Loyal Customers

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of our client's service and sales location.  I particularly wanted to meet the team at this agricultural equipment dealer because of their sound performance on our survey program.  After spending several hours there, I came away with several observations.

First, they have designed their processes to actually serve customers.  Second, employees appeared quite engaged in what they were doing.  Lastly, there was a palpable sense of pride in what they were doing.  The visit provided many insights into how to deliver excellent customer service.

Yesterday, I received an email from a senior manager in the company who shared a bit of feedback from a farmer, Don, that came through one of the surveys we do for the company. Keep in mind that Don is a farmer, and he is talking about several experiences with this location.  We also know from experience that farmers are a challenging group to keep happy, especially if it is planting or harvest season.  After all, they may have the entire year’s financial outcome riding on whether the crop gets planted or harvested promptly.

Let me share some of what this farmer had to say as there is much to learn from it.  I also want to highlight the elements of the service experience that this particular location is delivering effectively:

Effectively Communicate

“They had to order a part to be flown in and wanted to know if I wanted it overnight. I said no as whenever you can get it works for me.  It was done in perfect time." He said "they did and always have" called and explained the invoice to his satisfaction after the work was complete.

Do What They Promise

Regarding why he would recommend this dealer, Don said, "I have dealt with a lot of implement dealers over the years that say 'Monday' but not what Monday they will arrive.  This dealer "Monday morning at 8 AM" and they arrive ten minutes before 8 AM on Monday…"

Provide Peace of Mind

"They are available twenty-four/seven to answer questions, have always responded to questions - even small ones that just help you keep going, and they have been super." Don said, "I'd give them a 50 [overall satisfaction rating], they were that good. [

Make My Job Easier:

They came right out, were there within thirty minutes of when I had the issues, and when they didn't have all the parts because one broken part was a rare item to break, Randy (parts representative) came to the field, climbed the ladder and handed the part to the field technician." Don said, "This was unlike my experiences with another dealer, where I had to get the parts myself and bring them back to the technician. This was very impressive." Don said, "Just keep doing what they are doing." He then stated, "I have them complete the annual inspection on this machine and they do a really thorough inspection without me having to take it into their shop.  If there are service needs, you can then take the machine to them during the off season. This is unlike other dealers that require you to take the machine to them for inspection. They do a very good job."

In a few short words, Don outlined the key things this dealer location team is doing to keep him as a loyal customer.  While the location team has designed processes that support excellent service delivery, they are doing nothing extraordinary from a process standpoint.

What they are doing is communicating effectively, providing security to the customer, making the customer’s job easier, and doing what they promise.

As I think about my visit to this location and read these customer comments, it is clear the manager has created a work environment, with the team she has hired and developed along with the formal and informal reward systems she has in place, that delivers exceptional customer service even to challenging customers.

What makes delivering outstanding customer service so difficult?

Have great examples of customer service you want to share.  Contact me at lynndaniel@thedanielgroup.com.

Lynn

Lynn Daniel

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