Friday, October 12, 2007

How Sorry Are You?

Shipping sent the wrong product to your client - twice. A delivery arrived late, or you weren't able to come through with a promised upgrade. Sound familiar? Customer service foul-ups like these, and the Target customer service nightmare we told you about yesterday, can create major headaches for your customers.

"As a sales professional, you are the face of your company," says Managing Editor Tina LoSasso. "So you need to say you're sorry (regardless of whether it's your fault). When your company fouls up, a mere phone call or letter often is not enough to undo the damage. An appropriate gift will go a long way toward soothing ruffled feathers."

What should you send?

"Flowers always say it best," advises LoSasso. "For female customers, send a floral arrangement in a vase. Stay away from roses, no matter the color, as they spell romance in any language. Avoid lilies, because they are often used at funerals, and can have an overpowering fragrance. An elegant mixed flower arrangement can be pricey, so if funds are tight, opt for a tasteful bouquet of just one variety of flower for maximum impact. Irises, dendrobium orchids or gerbera daisies work well."

"For the men, send a healthy-looking potted plant, preferably not a blooming one. A bonsai plant, bamboo, or money tree will hit just the right masculine note, and look great on his desk."

When problems arise, do your best to fix them and make sure the customer knows you appreciate their business and will work hard to continue it. Follow up on your apology with a thoughtful gift and your customers will remember you when it's time to buy again.

This advice was excerpted from Top Dog Sales Secrets.

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