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How To Provide Great Global Customer Service

How To Provide Great Global Customer Service

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The relationship between you and your overseas customer shouldn't end when a sale is made. If anything, it requires more attention.

Once you've completed the initial international transaction, you must expect to provide a broad spectrum of "complimentary" services in order to encourage repeat business.

In this article we'll talk about the kind of follow-up "care and feeding" of global customers that will keep them coming back.
The relationship between you and your overseas customer shouldn't end when a sale is made. If anything, it requires more attention.

Once you've completed the initial international transaction, you must expect to provide a broad spectrum of "complimentary" services in order to encourage repeat business.

In this article we'll talk about the kind of follow-up "care and feeding" of global customers that will keep them coming back.

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Published by: Laurel Delaney, President, GlobeTrade.com on Jul 29, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/26/2012

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How To Provide Great Global Customer Service
Building Bonds One Customer at a Time
by Laurel Delaney
(The following is a chapter from Laurel’s book, “Start & Run aProfitable Exporting Business,” and has been updated to remainrelevant:http://tinyurl.com/3sd9o7)
The relationship between you and your overseascustomer shouldn't end when a sale is made. If anything, itrequires more attention. Once you've completed the initialexport transaction, you must expect to provide a broadspectrum of "complimentary" services in order to encouragerepeat business. In this article we'll talk about the kind of follow-up "care and feeding" of customers that will keepthem coming back.A customer in Ireland with whom I've been dealing for
 
about five years recently emailed me (on behalf of a client)an order for a product that I don't even handle. Completelybewildered, I emailed back, saying that there must be somemistake. He replied, "There is no mistake. I want you totake care of this because I don't know the supplier and Itrust you to conduct this business properly. Take your usualpercentage. After your last shipment, you shocked me whenyou emailed a week later to ask if there was anything youcould do to assist my marketing efforts on the productreceived. I will never forget this. Most American suppliersdon't communicate with us after the sale unless we placeanother order, but you were different." I would havethought that standing behind my product and takingprofessional responsibility for my customer's satisfaction andsuccess was the obvious thing to do, but apparently I waswrong!Think of your after-sales follow-up as part of yourproduct. If this attitude is as rare as my Irish customersaid, you will be setting an unprecedented standard of professionalism. Your customers will be deeply impressed,and they'll never again want to settle for less.YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE YOUR BUSINESSLet's go back to basics for a minute. What drives yourbusiness efforts? What are you really in it for? To make aton of money? To achieve total quality control? To orderaround a bunch of employees and be the big fish in yourpond? Whatever your motives, if you want to stay in thegame, you had better be in it for the right reasons: to getand keep customers worldwide.Without customers, there is no business. Withoutbusiness, there is no global marketer. Never forget who'sdriving the deal. You can explain to the customer all youlike about your company policy and why things are the waythey are when it comes to pricing, packaging, product
 
design or anything else, but if the customer doesn't likewhat he hears, there's no deal. If the price is too high,there's no deal. If product quality is insufficient, there's nodeal. If you can't show them a market, there's no deal. If they don't see value, there's no deal. The customer dictateswhat you will provide, not you, not your company policy, notthe economy, not Congress. So pay attention to yourcustomers. They know what they need and what they want.Do your best to make it happen for them.You won your customer over with the first sale. If youdon't follow up with ongoing service, you may lose herfuture business. Whether you lose a customer a block awayor 12,000 miles away, she is still a lost customer --something you cannot afford. Don't think of customerservice as a sprint, in which you go all out and then drop inexhaustion. It's a marathon without a finish line. So if youwant to keep her on your team, begin your relationship allover again after the sale!KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CUSTOMERThe first step in after-sales service is to say,wholeheartedly and preferably in person, "Thank you foryour business!" Then follow up by expressing furthersincere appreciation by email and in writing. These aremusts, absolutes, givens. Don't fail to do them just becausethey seem so obvious as to be insignificant. Your customerswill notice. Nor will they fail to notice the omission! Whatyou might classify as "NBD" (no big deal) might be just the"NBD" your customer needed to convince him to do businesswith you again.After that, plan for regular communication. If you'vegot the time and energy, contact them every day. If that'stoo burdensome, communicate regularly on a schedulethat's workable for you and sufficient to inspire yourcustomer's confidence.

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