I know we’ve been talking a lot about lessons from some popular B2C chains lately, but I can’t help it– those companies know what’s up!
Just recently I was eating breakfast at Chick-fil-a, and I came away unexpectedly inspired and delighted. What I learned there, of course, is perfectly applicable for any B2B brand, industrial or otherwise.
We need to not just focus on getting sales, but improving every customer’s experience after the sale as well.
I swear this has nothing to do with last week’s episode about the Twitter wars over chicken sandwiches…I think.
1. MAKE A BETTER EXPERIENCE, NOT JUST A GOOD EXPERIENCE
I recently brought in a little Yeti tumbler full of coffee to a Chick-fil-a to have breakfast there. At the counter, the server offered to refill it for me. He wasn’t required to do that, but it was a nice gesture.
After I sat down, a second server brought out my food– and upon seeing that I’d forgotten to grab plasticware or napkins, he offered to grab them so I wouldn’t have to get up. Again, it wouldn’t have been a big deal if he hadn’t done that…but he did.
Then, just as I was about to leave, the manager of the restaurant came by and offered to refill my travel mug again. Again– unprompted!
How many of us can truly say that we work for a business that treats its customers like royalty?
It wouldn’t have ruined my experience to grab plasticware like a normal human being, or to finish off the single cup of coffee I’d brought in. My morning would still have been good. But instead, that company culture turned it around and made it doggone excellent.
2. TURN YOUR CUSTOMERS INTO YOUR ADVOCATES
Why does everyone rave about Chick-fil-a? The food is certainly delicious, but it’s their customer service that takes the cake– or rather, gives the cake.
They seem to take to heart that just one bad customer experience can prevent future business, and this is a mantra that a lot of B2B manufacturers need to reapply to their own businesses.
What does the post-sale experience look like for your customers?
When your leads become clients, do their rose-colored glasses come off, or are they pleasantly surprised by your easy implementation?
After all that time you spent wining and dining them and promising the moon, are they rudely shaken back into reality with a blunt handoff between the account manager and the project manager?
If your answer is at least “maybe,” then it’s time to call a team meeting.
3. STANDARDIZE YOUR ONBOARDING PROCESS
Unless you’re running a brand new business that launched last week (in which case, Happy Birthday!) then you probably have a portfolio of lots of past clients and projects. Go through that list and determine which post-sales steps were most common in your process…as well as how well or how poorly they were implemented.
Is there always a disconnect or some item of confusion between your account manager and your project manager? Seek to create a system or online worksheet or CRM widget to streamline that bump in the road.
If you know certain hurdles or parts of the “client handoff” tend to come up every time, find a way to automate some emails or messages to smooth out the transition.
Even though working on an existing process may not feel as innovative as creating something new, it’s worth it, Creating an amazing customer experience after the sale – especially with a digitized tool so you don’t have to work as hard – can be the linchpin that brings your clients back when they’re ready to buy again.
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