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Survival of the Fastest?
With cell phones, PDAís and instant messaging we continue to seek devices and software that will allow us to accomplish multiple tasks efficiently and effectively. Survival of the swiftest has been the business mantra for some time.
Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? The hare is swift, and when the race begins he feels he can easily put a great deal of distance between himself and the tortoise. Thinking his speed will allow him to overtake the tortoise at will, the hare decides to eat and rest. Though the tortoise is slower, his pace is steady. He never stops or slows. Due to the hareís reliance upon speed, and his lack of focus on the goal (the finish line), he doesnít win the race. The tortoise is the victor.
Slow and Consistent Are Appreciated Too
This story came to mind when thinking about my mechanic. He is an independent mechanic with a small repair shop and one helper (sometimes two). His premises arenít fancy, he barely has an adequate computer system, and you can be assured your repairs will take longer at his shop than at many other facilities.
Though Iím definitely a person who wants quick and efficient delivery, my mechanicís slow and steady pace is greatly appreciated. Sure, I could take my car somewhere else and get it repaired faster, but at what price? I trust him to give every repair his best effort. Thatís why I remain a loyal customer. Loyalty is a by-product of trust.
Too Fast For Your Customerís Good?
Have you become too focused on striving to be faster than your competition? Have you forgotten that a little slower and consistent may be more to your customerís liking? Are you missing buying signals in your efforts to get in and out of appointments quickly? How much is overlooked by staff, managers, and the executive team while focusing on staying ahead of the competition?
How about slowing down and taking a little extra time with each customer? Help them to become better acquainted with your company and its products. If they become more knowledgeable about your products and services, they might consider using your company more often when making buying decisions.
Itís About the Service
Does your staff take the time to listen intently to what customers are saying, so they can lead them toward products that will best meet their needs? In your haste to be the first to market, have you forgotten to monitor staff product/service knowledge? People will only sell what they know, and feel comfortable discussing.
Check your product sales records. Are the best sellers popular because customers like them best, or because your staff can discuss the benefits of these products better than others?
Next time youíre rushing around trying to make the maximum amount of contacts in eight hours, remember quality, consistency, and value will take you much further in the long run. Slow it down, and take more time with each customer. Your customers will appreciate that you did, and their appreciation will be reflected in your bottom line. Customer loyalty and retention are about relationship building, time, quality, and consistent effort.
About the Author: Kennette Reed is the principal consultant with Kennette Reed & Associates. Her firm provides nationwide customer and staff retention, performance improvement, and executive coaching solutions. She is also a nationally know speaker and the author of several books. Her firm has offices in San Leandro, CA and Snellville, GA. For more info, visit the company website www.kennettereed.com , email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 510-352-2121.