Saturday, August 2, 2008

Customer Service

I am sharing with you the story of this young man:

This young guy, from China, moved to Florida and went to a big "everything-under-one-roof" Department Store looking for a job. The Manager asked: "Do you have any sales experience?"

The young man replied: "Yeah. I was a Salesman back in China."

Well, the boss liked the man and gave him the job. "You may start work tomorrow. I'll come down after closing and let us review your performance."

The young man’s first day was tough but he managed to get through it.

After the Store was closed, the Manager came down and inquired:"How many items have you sold to the customers today?"

The reply came - "Just one.”"

The boss exclaimed:"Just one? Each of our Sales persons clocked an average 20 to 30 customers a day. How much was the sale?"

The young man replied: "$151,237.65."

The boss queried: "$151,237.65? Tell me, what did you sell?"

The reply from the young man was:
"First, I sold him a small fish hook. After that, I sold him a medium fish hook followed by a larger fish hook. Subsequently, I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he told me - down the coast. So I inquired if he needs a boat. Then we went down to the Boat Department and I sold him a twin-engine Chris Craft. Soon, he said he did not think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to the Automotive Department and sold him that BMW X5…”

This story did not end up here!

Immediate I have thought about our sales. It is not good enough to just push for more sales revenue. We need to offer the best service support to our customers. When we can do that, I strongly believe that the result will be a multiple function of effort, sincerity, honesty, persistence and self confidence!

My first job
My first sales job started in 1985 as a salesman for Siemens. My product line included Siemens Computer, Kraekramer GMBH and Siemens Ink Jet printer which was selling at a price of HKD6000. At that time, a Cannon Bubble jet printer was just HKD1200. Who could be the customers? My immediate focus was on people working in an environment which required a very low noise resonance from the printer – this was the advantage of the Siemens Ink Jet printer. I found a very good customer who had a security firm in United Centre. They sent me order regularly and he was one of customers, in Hong Kong, to use the printer! He needed a very quiet printer as there were lots of investors working his office. If not for the ink jet printer, it would be too noisy! This will cause an impact to the clients in a security company!

Too expensive to sell!

I still recalled that I represented one of the NDT ultrasonic flaw detector. By visiting my customer HEACO, MTR, Tram car company, China shipyard and CMB, I learned a lot about their needs. I found out why they had to buy the most expensive NDT flaw defector equipment in the world. I became more confident after I sold the first most expensive and sophisticated flaw detector to HAECO. I learned this valuable point: if you think that they will not buy your product, you need not visit them as they will never buy. Same theory applies - if you think that your product is too expensive, you will never be able to sell it to anybody!

Maintaining loyal customer- After Sales Support
I derived a lot of satisfaction in the sales job although I never talked about anything about the product selling after the first successfully transaction was done. The customers kept on buying because they like the after-sales-support - this is one of the key factors for maintaining a loyal customer.

Highest Caliber people- Ability to have Leadership

After years of observation and experience, the highest paid personnel in Engineering may not necessarily be a person who knows the most about Engineering. One can, for example, hire mere technical ability in Engineering, Accountancy, Architecture or any other professional at nominal salaries. It is the person who has technical knowledge plus the ability to assume leadership, to express ideas and to arouse enthusiasm amongst people – such a person will head for higher earning power.

In the heyday of his activities, John D. Rockefeller said that “the ability to deal with people is as purchasable as commodity such as sugar or coffee. And I will pay more for that ability,” said John D., “than for any other under the sun.”

Serving customer
Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive mode and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurt his sense of importance and arouse resentment.

The Desire to be important
There is only one way under the sky to get anybody to do anything. Did you ever stop to think of that? Yes, there is one way. That is by motivating the other person to do it willingly.

John Dewey, one of American’s profound philosophers, phrased it a bit differently. Dr. Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important”.

John D Rockefeller got this feeling of importance by donating money to erect a modern hospital in Beijing to care for millions of people whom he had never seen and never would see! Dillinger, got this feeling of importance by being a bank robber and killer. When FBI agents were hunting him, he dashed into a farm house in Minnesota and said “I am Dillinger!”. He was proud of the fact that he was Public’s number one enemy. “I won’t hurt you but I am Dillinger!” he said. The only significant difference between Dillinger and Rockefeller is how they got their feeling of importance.

Art of handling people, not technique!
Handling people is a kind of art and not just a technique. It blends with your experience in dealing with people, your character and education. There is no standard way or rules in handling people. The key points are to be sincere, do not pick on people’s minor mistakes and try to correct mistakes by offering chance for their improvement. At time, try to give people some kinds of minor appreciation. It can be as simple as offering a cup of coffee, buying a meal and a note of thanks. Treat all people with the same courtesy, regardless their positions and ranks.

Passion in your job
Howard Thurtson was the acknowledged Dean of magicians. More than 60 millions people had paid for admission to his show. He declared he never stepped in front of the footlights without first saying to himself over and over: “I love my audience. I love my audience.” Ridiculous? Absurd? You are entitled to think anything you like. I am merely passing it on to you the recipe used by one of the most famous magicians of all times.
Wear a smile when you talk on the phone
I have always told the Service Engineers that you got to be speaking truly to your customer with a smile on the phone! Absurd? It is true that customers do not see you at all but they can feel by listening. They will know that you are speaking to them with a smile. They like to be friends and work with you, if possible, for a life time!

Customer’s Culture
When the Duke of Windsor was the Prince of Wales, he was scheduled to tour South American. Before he started out on that tour, he spent months studying Spanish so that he could make public talks in the language of the country and the South Americans loved him for it!

I would like to share with you some of the words of wisdom which I have learnt along the way:

Words of wisdom
Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
Give honest and sincere appreciation.
Take into account other person’s interests.
Arouse interest and wants of other people.
Be genuinely interested in other people.
Try to be in the shoes of your customers.
Hard work will pay back - this is the driver for keeping up with the hard work.
If you think the product is too expensive to sell, you will never able tot sell it!
If you think that you are satisfied with your sales record, you will never be able to make new sales record in the next quarter.
Murphy’s Law always applies.

The Rain Maker
I have seen an American movie “The Rain Maker”. That is a very good story that highlights to us that “Sometimes, the weakest can also the winners!”

If you believe you will be the winner and then you have to work hard to pursue the target.
You would be the winner!



Johnny said...

Dear Fever Ip,

I truly agree what you have mentioned. Unfortunately, this is not the same case here in Canada. I gets rather upset because the management doing just the opposite.

Damn = what a world in the east and west!!!

Johnny Tang

Fever Ip said...

Hi Johnny Tang
That is the case in HK and that may not be the same in canada.
There are a lot of factors including culture, racial, gender, educational level, company policy and human chemistry... too complex to be revealed and understood...
All we need to do is to perform the best we can... result should be there one day!

Fever Ip