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5 Steps for Ensuring Customer Satisfaction in Agricultural Sales

Remember that every customer call is an opportunity for you to help solve a problem for someone. And if we are honest with ourselves, that is the real reason we enjoy sales so much!

So you are walking along freshly-tilled furrows on the way to meet a grower and potential customer in the field, when your cell phone rings. Time is short after you got turned around at the entrance, machinery churns loudly around you, and the sun is making you regret your choice of long sleeves this morning. You can see by the number on the screen that it’s a new grower you just signed up last week. Quick: how do you respond?

Stop, take a breath, and remember that when a customer calls, it is an opportunity for you to help solve a problem for someone. Here are 5 easy steps anyone can follow to ensure great customer service on every call, every time.

Step 1: Say Hello
Thank your customer for calling. Keep a “smile” in your voice by keeping a smile on your face. State your company name, first name, and ask how you can help. Think: Here is an opportunity to solve a problem for someone!

Step 2: Understand the reason for the call
If you cannot understand the reason a customer is calling, you will never be able to help them. The best way to do this is to actively listen. Do they have a question? Do they have a concern? Or do they have a complaint? Ask clarifying questions to confirm your understanding of the reason for the call.

Step 3: Respond appropriately
If the grower has a question–and you know the answer–answer it! Ask, “does that answer your question” to confirm that you were heard and understood. If you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, let them know what you will do to get the answer, and when you will reach out to share what you have learned.

If the customer has a concern, empathize with it! No one put it better than President Theodore Roosevelt when it came to empathy. He said, “no one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care,” a sentiment that is especially true in customer service. Only after empathizing with a grower’s concern can you then explain what you will do to address that concern.

If the grower has a complaint, start again with empathy. Let them know that you understand how frustrating it must be to deal with the problem they are experiencing with your product or service. Next, apologize. You may not have caused the problem, but all customers appreciate a salesperson that takes full responsibility for the products or services that they sell. This is especially the case with growers. Lastly, address the complaint immediately or let the customer know what you will do to address the complaint and when they can expect to hear back from you once the complaint has been addressed.

Step 4: Deal with the challenges
Working through a grower’s complaint can be challenging, but it always helps to go above and beyond. Do must do more than what is expected. Under-promise what you can do with an eye to over-delivering in the days and weeks that follow. And take notes about the customer’s challenge–not only as a reference for your next interaction with that customer–but to help improve your company’s product or service delivery if needed.

Step 5: Say Goodbye
Thank your grower! After all, they pay your commission in agricultural sales! If they had a question, thank them for calling, and invite them to call back again. If your customer had a concern, thank them for sharing their concern and let them know you appreciate that they took the time to call. If your customer had a complaint, thank them for bringing their complaint to your attention, and thank them a second time for giving you an opportunity to resolve their complaint.

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