This is a true story about how not to do customer experience:
The sales team was comprised of two guys from a big enterprise network box manufacturer. I don’t want to name names, but let’s just say their company started with “C” and ended with “isco.” I was the network admin and they wanted to visit me to see how they could help. We had some of their equipment already and were pretty happy, except a few minor outstanding technical issues. I put together a list, which they quickly dismissed as not their problem. It quickly became obvious they were not here to see how they could help, but to pitch new product and probe me for inside info.
After introductions and niceties, they started right in talking about their e-commerce solution. I was baffled. My company was a circuit board manufacturer that sold wholesale to companies like Dell or HP. Despite their 30 minutes of canned rhetoric, I could not see how this solution benefited us. Frustrated, they moved on to asking “what else we had going on.” I thought to myself: Now we’re finally getting somewhere. I told them I was tasked with vetting an internet firewall. I had looked at Sonic and Checkpoint and told them some of the features I was interested in and why. They gave me glossy data sheets for their firewall, then in a rather awkward way, time was up and they were out the door.
A week later I heard from the technical guy. I was hoping he had good news about my outstanding technical issues, but no, He had called to pitch their firewall solution. Instead of asking me about my needs, he said he had checked out the competition online and said “What’s so special about that? I don’t see any fire sales there.” I was not just disappointed, I was insulted. Not only did he not help with my issues, he was belittling me for my choices! My response? I called the company and said: “I like your stuff, but don’t send those guys back here ever again please.” It’s a shame that they spend all that money developing and marketing great products only to have them peddled with such slipshod clumsiness. The upshot is they taught me a lot about what is important in customer experience.
5 Lessons about what’s important in a customer experience:
1. Focus on the user’s world, not your own.
Chances are good they are much more interested in what they want and not so much on what you want.
2. Know your customer.
What do they care about? What do they need? What do they want? (not the same thing..) How much are they invested in it? Do they have a good idea of what they want or are they in need of education? Can you really help them or are you wasting both your time and theirs?
3. Have a relevant goal and share it with your customer.
Don’t make them guess why you’re there or surprise them with your hidden agenda. Ask them what their goals are too. Write them down and refer to them often. Customers like to see that they are making progress.
4. Bring value to every interaction.
If you can’t offer something constructive, be quiet and listen until you find something constructive to say. Forget about the features and benefits a moment. Ask questions that lead them to understand what’s possible.
5. Make it fun and easy to buy from you.
Customers want to be treated with respect. They want to solve problems, enjoy themselves and not be hassled by strung out vendors.
What about you? What have less than stellar sales people taught you about customer engagement?