Have your say: help us to help you

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We'd like your views on our international services because we understand that to succeed we must listen to our customers and work with them.

In September we told you that every customer is unique. With the advice of management consultant and customer relations expert, Jeremy Moore of HGM Marketing, we gave you some tips to generate business and ensure customer loyalty.

We try to practice what we preach and want to make life easier for your business. We've reminded ourselves that it’s not about what we think; it's about you and what your business needs. We are investing the time, listening carefully and ready to take onboard your views.

So tell us, honestly, what you find difficult about sending items overseas. Perhaps you have some suggestions that can help us make it easier for you. We are listening.

Come back soon to see our response.

Not every company has a product to sell

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Service-led companies make up a significant chunk of the business world. But how does marketing and selling a service differ from selling a product?

Where there's a product, there's a clear selling advantage as there's a sensory experience on offer. Customers can see it. They can touch it, pick it up, examine it and experience it. They can bend it, shake it, twist it, smell it and try it out - or on.

Selling a service can be a challenge since you're selling something that doesn’t exist yet.

Without a physical 'thing' to put on display the business service industry has to take a different approach. Service companies have to actively demonstrate that they can do a great job. A product can speak for itself but a service needs someone to speak for it.

If that's you, here's what you can do:

  • Look good, first impressions count. You represent your service. If you're a sole trader you are your service. Reassure your potential clients by looking neat, tidy and professional. Look sloppy and that's what people will think your service will be like.

  • Offer a free trial. Allowing people to test your service free of charge and without obligation. It shows that you are genuine, have nothing to hide and are committed to working hard for their custom. Demonstrating your service means you can engage with your potential customers and build up a rapport with them.

  • Use customer testimonials. If you have received great feedback from your customers, use it. Include testimonials in your marketing pack, on flyers and in your advertisements. Endorsement of your service in this way is extremely valuable. It speaks volumes about your company and makes you all the more attractive to others.

  • Give exceptional customer service. Customers make the world go around so you need to be attentive to their needs. Remember, you are nothing without your customers. Treat each and every one of them with respect. Be polite, be courteous, smile and be friendly. Provide a service guarantee.

  • Do a great job. Doing your job might be easy. Doing a truly great job requires a bit more effort. Impress your customers with your skill and expertise, go the extra and add a polish and a shine to your service every time. Your customers will appreciate it and it'll keep your competitors at bay.

  • Communicate. Follow up. Don't forget about your customers when you've finished the job and your invoice has been paid. Send them a thank you note, a discount voucher for next time or news of other services you offer. Ask for their feedback so you can improve your service as well as add their testimonial to your marketing portfolio.

Tell us what your service is – and how you go about selling it.

Psst… have you seen this? Be the first

Friday, September 10, 2010

Spoiler alert! Sometimes it’s just too exciting to wait for the official release and you just want to know how it ends. So, without further ado, check this out!

Our team has been working flat out redesigning the New Zealand Post website. You told us that the existing one isn’t customer focused enough and we agreed. So the team has been working with you to make it easier to find and view information.

We’ve kept you in mind throughout the redesign and in May your comments helped us to create our new look site. Feedback was positive and you appreciated being asked which is why we think it’s only right that you be amongst the first to see the end result.

If you’ve got any feedback, leave a comment. Alternatively, if you want to be the first to review any developments on the New Zealand Post website and influence how the site works in the future, email redline@nzpost.co.nz. As a member of the Customer Feedback Group, an active New Zealand Post online community, you’ll be given the opportunity to have your say as we continue to add features to our site.

Spread the word, the new site launches on 16 September, tell everyone to come here and give us their views on it.

Every customer is unique

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What’s the key to generating new business and ensuring customer loyalty?

We asked management consultant and customer relations expert, Jeremy Moore, of HGM Marketing.

According to him, the answer (in a nutshell) is to recognise customers as individuals and treat each and every one as unique. He also gave this helpful advice:
  • Gain trust – always focus on the people first, then the business problem in hand before you offer your product or service as the solution.
  • Hold the sales pitch – you may be great at what you do but rattling off your star qualities before your customer has had time to blink will put people off.
  • Listen carefully - it’s not as simple as ‘they need what you have’. Different customers have different needs. Understanding these needs is the platform from which you can build good, solid relationships.
  • Invest time - you have to begin with a series of conversations and get to a level where you can both talk honestly and freely with each other.
  • Work together - when you reach the stage above you can visualise, together, how your product or service will help them achieve their business objectives.
  • Remember, it’s not about you - it’s all about your customers. It’s not about your competence; it’s about your approach. Until you really get to know your customers and learn what they want and need you have nothing to sell them.
  • Encourage referrals – happy clients are often more than happy to recommend you to others and these testimonials and referrals are your ticket to attaining more business.

In a snapshot, it’s all about:

  • Having business conversations vs delivering a competence pitch
  • Asking good questions vs giving your views and opinions
  • Talking with decision makers vs talking with users
  • Showing how your services can be applied vs spouting off the features and benefits
  • Being in a position to empower buying vs plain old selling

At redline™ we’re always on the hunt for good advice. Tell us what works for you in terms of getting new business and keeping your customers happy.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be posting some interesting blogs, including some specific to the business-to-business market. Make sure you don’t miss them - sign up for email alerts!