Today, consumers are more knowledgeable than ever about the products they purchase. They expect immediate satisfaction and have higher expectations of after-sales service than at any time before. In this climate, you, as Distributors, take on the added responsibility, not only to meet, but also to exceed the consumers’ expectations.
Now, I’m sure you’re saying you can’t satisfy every consumer. The fact is you can satisfy every consumer somehow, some way. It’s all in the way you approach the situation. Saying ‘no’ and hoping they go away, doesn’t work. Our files are full of examples that prove this. In many cases, you only make things worse. Instead, you must offer an alternative solution that satisfies the consumer and you. This brings up two questions. What can you do to turn around a negative consumer and are you willing to do it? We can help you with the first question. The second question is up to you.
Kirby Consumer Relations strives to bring the Distributor and consumer together to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. We are very successful in resolving problems. Talking to tens of thousands of consumers each year gives us a wealth of experience in resolving problems. Your goal is to handle complaints before they reach Consumer Relations or a third party, such as the State Attorney General. We have the same goal: to resolve complaints within our department. To reach this goal, we have developed a five-step, pro-active approach which you can use. They are:
- Listen to the consumer’s request
- Discuss the situation with the consumer. Find out what is expected.
- Acknowledge the importance of the consumer and his/her request.
- Let the consumer know your concern goes beyond the sale.
- Work out a solution that brings this consumer back to a positive viewpoint.
We repeatedly turn around consumers. It’s a great feeling and the consumer appreciates the efforts as well. We know it really works. For example, we had a very angry consumer call us saying she could not get any assistance locally. She told us she was disgusted about the way the Distributor treated her. In fact, she said she will never buy another Kirby system. She also said she will make sure all her friends knew of her situation.
A perfect situation for the five-step approach. We let the consumer vent. We did not interrupt her. When she was finished explaining her plight, we asked questions to clarify what was done and what she expected.
We acknowledged her importance and the importance of her complaint by assuring her that we understood how difficult it is to be without the use of the Kirby system. We assured her that her satisfaction goes beyond the sale and that we would take immediate action to assist her. We then contacted the Distributor, reviewed the situation, and requested immediate attention to the concerns. We followed up with the Distributor and the consumer to assure that the situation was handled properly.
The consumer was so thrilled with the quick response and prompt service, she sent us a note saying, “I would buy another Kirby system again, no questions asked. And I am telling all my friends. Need a sweeper? Try mine! Now, I love my Kirby vacuum.”
With five easy steps — a very basic organized plan — we’ve painlessly taken a consumer from a very negative attitude and made her a Kirby advocate. You can’t ask for better advertising than satisfied consumers.
Are you willing to take the extra steps, give the consumer options, and turn around that consumer? Just remember that no situation is resolved until the consumer is satisfied.