I was browsing some Google Alerts for one of my clients and found a very long thread on a trade publication’s forum. Apparently someone had asked an innocent question, “Has anyone ever used <insert client’s name here>?” to which a number of people replied, “I called them and the sales person was arrogant! He wouldn’t even talk to me unless I agreed that I was willing to spend a large sum of money with him.” Some other customers posted with positive comments, but the negative far outweighed the positive.
Clearly there are additional problems here, but the point I want to make is that you need to ensure any customer-facing employee knows that anything they do and say just might be used against them! In this case, a salesperson frustrated by low-price tire-kickers may have simply been overly rigid in pre-qualifying customers–but that’s not the message that is now permanently archived for the rest of the world to see on a leading industry message board. It’ll take a huge amount of advertising, marketing, and PR to overcome this single, overwhelmingly negative post.
As part of your customer strategy, you need to ensure that you properly handle those prospects or customers that don’t fit your customer value profile. If a prospect isn’t in your target market, find a way for your reps or agents to let them down easily, or refer them to a lower-priced competitor, but don’t simply tell them to take a hike, because they’ll tell the world.
Tell me about your experiences where someone, in a moment of frustration, says the wrong thing and the rest of the world hears about it….