This Message is Full of Hot Air
I recently had to buy a new furnace to replace one that was roughly 18 years old. Boy, a lot has changed since buying the last one!
Here's my experience and how it applies to customer service and your business.
Company 1: We had been doing business with this company for the last 18 years. They pushed hard for an 80% efficient model. Their reason - new laws coming in May 2013 will force everyone buying a new furnace to buy a high efficiency only, so better to buy now and save money. They also pushed the finance plan. (We were NOT interested in financing.) Something didn't feel right. We decided to get more estimates.
Company 2: The representative from the second company was very personable. He gave us quotes comparing the price for both the low and high efficiency options, but didn't really provide guidance as to why one would be better than the other. This made the decision harder, because it was not just about picking the lowest price.
Company 3: The representative from the third company educated us on the "whats" and "whys" in plain English. He answered all our questions, even the dumb ones. Plus, he informed us that there were rebates available for purchasing a high efficiency furnace and told us how to apply for them.
Why Company 3 was the only choice:
- Company 1 was obviously just interested in a quick sale, not the good of their customer.
- Company 2 gave us a quote for exactly what we asked for, but nothing more.
- Company 3 took the extra time to educate us about their product which made us feel confident that we were making the right choice, with both the product and the company.
Of course, we ended up buying a top-of-the line furnace. But get this - after the rebates, we will be paying the SAME as Company 1's cheapest model, and getting a much better product!
What does this mean to you? If you are competing on price, then your only option is to be the lowest. Otherwise you have to provide something extra.
I firmly believe in these Customer Service principles and strive to adhere to them every day in my own business:
- Treat your customers as you would like to be treated.
- What is best for your customer is best for your business.
- Take the time to help your customers understand your product and/or service.
You can do this with your website too. Start with an uncluttered site that presents easy-to-understand information and shows how your business is different from the rest. You will be a breath of fresh air!