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Customer Problem Or Sales Opportunity?


Everyone is familiar with the term “double edged sword.” Webster’s Dictionary defines that idiom as “something that has, or can have, favorable or unfavorable consequences.” That is exactly the “double edged” outcomes that apply to your customer’s problems.

Have you ever had a problematic issue with something you purchased that was handled so effectively it caused you to become an advocate for the company you were dealing with? Most of us have had an experience like that and when you examine the root of what caused you to feel those emotions of loyalty seldom will you find that it was the resolution itself that engendered those feelings.

In most such problem resolution situations it was more likely to have been HOW the resolution was reached that drove your feeling of loyalty. In other words, it was the human interaction itself that caused your positive reaction to the resolution.

I work with a client that honors such moments of customer service heroism with something they call an Extra Miler Award. It is a process of recognition that they consistently employ which, over time, has resulted in a culture of fanatic devotion to outstanding customer experiences.

This firm doesn’t just look to convert problems into opportunities; they try to convert ORDINARY customer service moments into EXTRAORDINARY moments of customer delight and celebrate the person or person’s actions related to those moments. It isn’t easy to stay committed to such an initiative but I have never spent a single day with that client where they didn’t award at least 5 or 6 Extra Milers, some of which almost bring you to tears.

Depending upon the research you reference most of us accept that bad news travels at least 8 to 10 times faster than good news. While that assertion is probably true, good news still travels and the increased sales opportunity that arises from that good news can have a huge impact on your business. What is the primary reason for that impact? The answer is simple; word of mouth is far more powerful than advertising for determining how we purchase.

An astounding 25% of search results for the World’s top 20 largest brands are actually links to user-generated content! If you own a business today your past customers are probably impacting future sales far more than advertising, marketing, and sales initiatives combined!

There are over 200 million active bloggers and 34% of them post opinions about products or brands. We live in a world where 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations while only 14% trust advertising. We also live in a time where we don’t even need to search for products and services; they will find us through social media.

With the rapid emergence of social media and online review sites such as Yelp! we can no longer afford to just DEAL with customer problems. Strike that phrase from your company’s language. It is imperative that we treat every customer interaction as a golden marketing opportunity, especially the ones that begin as problems.

A fanatical focus on the customer experience is not something you can fake or only choose to focus on sporadically. Customers will see through that. Your employees need to be inspired, empowered, and publicly recognized for great customer service in order to truly unleash the power of the customer as your evangelist.

Chuck Terry, CEO/President

Chuck Terry, CEO/President

Sandler Training in Denver provides sales training, management and leadership training, and professional development for individuals and organizations. Let us know how we can help your team.