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Innovation: If Experts Were CUSTOMER CHAMPIONS

“I don’t want to talk to a sales rep, I’m not ready to buy,” he said. This is what happens as a result of compensation tied exclusively to a sale made and not a long-term account or customer relationship. There are experts in an organization we are willing to talk with because we know they will put forth an informed opinion and advice without trying to sell us something we don’t want right now. Ironically, we may end up buying as a result.

“I don’t want to talk to a sales rep, I’m not ready to buy,” he said. This is what happens as a result of compensation tied exclusively to a sale made and not a long-term account or customer relationship. There are experts in an organization we are willing to talk with because we know they will put forth an informed opinion and advice without trying to sell us something we don’t want right now. Ironically, we may end up buying as a result.

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Many of these skilled voices are consultants, but many more are technical people who are quite passionate about their field and have the experience to know it inside out. What would happen if those same people answered the customer service phone lines? Not on the tenth ring, not after going around voice activate menus until you get lost — immediately, as if they were looking forward to speaking with you.

– They would not be afraid of you questions. Used to solving problems as they arise, these professionals would be able to dig deeper, probe, and get to the bottom of the reasons why you called with you.

– As an extension of that point, they would be keen listeners. That means they do not finish your sentence for you – and by extension do not take what is happening to you for granted; you don’t and that is an important point to get across.

– They would speak in a human voice. One thing that amazes me about people with considerable experience, aside from the casual way in which they treat their own expertise as if it were no big deal, is that they are able to articulate complex information is ways that are easy to understand.

– They would use stories and examples to paint a picture for you. No thick user manuals or technical mumbo jumbo. After your call you will not have to digest a multiple step instruction manual. it will be enough to have had the benefit of a real life example.

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– They may end up promoting a competitor if they know there is value there for you. The product of intense immersion in a field of expertise is the sense of affiliation to all the professionals that make up that field and see them as colleagues. This also means that in their eyes you, the customer, come first.

This is not fantasy, it’s the product of years of observation while working inside organizations. Customer interactions are a gift, and an opportunity to gain insights in what should make us eager to show up in the morning.

Could we convince customer service reps to be passionate about customers, too? Or do we want to continue hearing: “Calling the 800-number is a waste of time, nobody cares,” before we are even given a chance speak? What would happen if those we trust to be customer champions became experts at being just that?

Valeria Maltoni • Conversation Agent • Philadelphia, PA • www.conversationagent.com

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