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The Client Journey – The Visit

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In my last article about “The Client Journey,” I discussed how the customer is “actively waiting” and how important communication is and that we are meeting the time commitment. This article focuses on “the visit.” Providing everything went well up to this point, “the visit” is definitely the “make or break” part of the journey.

I’ve always tried to make it a point to leave nothing up for chance. A planned outcome requires a process that everyone understands so that failure or variance from what is expected is minimized. How does this apply to “the visit”?

I could never understand how a company would send someone to my door without that person knowing what they were going to say, how they were going to say it, and how they expect to deal with a situation should something unusual arise. Anyone who has to speak to a customer should have already role played that experience and practiced it to the point where they can do it in their sleep. If you’ve ever coached any type of youth sports, you know that practicing the basics encourages confidence, improves performance, and allows the player to perform better. During “the visit,” the technician should know exactly what he or she would say before they walk in the door. This includes any possible situation and its solution.

I recently had a client ask if I would spend some time in his plumbing business looking for potential areas of improvement. This client had recently attended one of my workshops and believed he needed some outside assistance to improve the way they did business. After spending a few days analyzing his systems and processes, I decided that the best opportunity was to work on “the visit” segment of his business.

We developed a plan to train, role-play with employees, a devise a script to follow as well as make resources available to the service technicians to adequately speak about and offer services to their customers. It also required a change in mindset from the management group. Previously, management constantly pushed the field team to get to as many customers as possible during the day. Unfortunately, this type of behavior discourages everyone from spending additional time with the customer and limits additional sales opportunities. With the changes I implemented, we decided that it was beneficial, for not only the business, but also the customer to spend a little more time on what I call “walking and talking.” This is simply taking the time to get know the customer and discuss options, check everything and come up with solutions that will resolve the customer issues.

Most customers call and spend money for outside help, when they have reached a point where they can no longer tolerate the problem or resolve the issue themselves. Keep in mind there’s a good possibility that other issues exists that the customer chose to ignore, put up with, or just decided to blow off until later. What happens now is that the client is forced to have you come in and resolve the major problem, yet all of the minor annoyances are still there. However, they are not at the top of the priority list.

For example, I had that same plumbing company come to my home to do some repairs on my kitchen sink drain. Once that repair was complete, the technician asked how to get to my water heater. He explained that it’s company policy to check every plumbing fixture free, every time they are dispatched to a home. Of course, this is was one of the suggested solutions when we went through training. After looking over the water heater and finding out it was 23 years old, he had a tablet showing me various options available to replace it and mentioned how they can set up a payment plan and have it all done tomorrow. Although the water heater seemed fine now, he explained it could be any day when it may fail as it had already surpassed its life expectancy. I almost told him to go ahead and decided to wait a few days before making a decision. He continued the “walking and talking” and found a few more problems. A bad flapper in a toilet, a faucet needing replacement, and he also replaced a plunger in a bathtub, in addition to a few other minor things. After about two and a half hours, this man walked out with about seven hundred dollars in sales and a potential water heater replacement. Simply by spending time with me and “walking and talking.”

Most successful people don’t wake up one day and everything is perfect and they have everything they have dreamed. It takes setting goals, deciding on an objective, planning, and practicing to make sure that everyone knows their role well, and a sincere willingness to help. Most service technicians want to do a great job. They just need someone to show them a way, help them practice, and allow an opportunity to do well, as well as take care of the customer’s needs.

My next article will cover a very important part of the customer journey and that is “The Presentation and Close.”

Frank Besednjak

Posted In: ACCA Now, Customer Service, Management

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