Best Practices for Customer Service in Agricultural Sales
There is no doubt, growers can be some of the most discerning customers out there. But once their loyalty is won, amazing customer service is the best way to keep it. Here are some of the best ways to do just that.
After 27 years in agricultural sales, I’ve seen thousands of salespeople come and go. And I’ve noticed that the best learn early on in their careers that superior customer service after the sale is what truly creates customer loyalty. It is loyal customers that form the foundation of any great sales organization, because loyal customers come back to buy again and again, month after month.
But here’s the thing. Providing fantastic customer service is not hard, it’s just not something most sales training programs emphasize. If salespeople spent as much time thinking about customer service after the sale as they did closing the the next sale, monthly quotas would be easier to hit. With this in mind, I’ve put together some of the best practices in customer service that I have seen in agricultural sales.
Enjoy, and let me know if I’ve missed any!
Beat Practices for Customer Service
Listen so that your customers know they have been heard. This is easier said than done, but remember that growers just want to be heard. Don’t interrupt! Hear and understand, don’t simply wait for your turn to speak. And this means that you have to answer your phone when you see an existing customer’s number pop up on your display.
Focus on the solution, not on who’s to blame. Growers don’t care who is at fault, they only care about what can be done for their issue or concern. And as the salesperson, you are the person that needs to “do the doing.” It starts with asking the right questions, and remember: Customers may not always be right, but they will always be someone’s customer.
Always treat customers with respect. Personalize your conversations but don’t get too familiar with your growers. Always be slightly more polite than you think is warranted. Keep your promises and always be respectful of your growers time. Never feign interest, but instead, work to cultivate a genuine interest in your growers process and end product.
Go beyond what is expected. Work just as hard for your grower after the sale as you did to get the sale. Make them feel valued, and make an extra effort to be pleasant. That includes avoiding profanity even if your grower does not. Send thank you notes or notes that mark special occasions such as birthday’s and children’s graduations. And smile, in everything you do, with both your face and voice.
Always treat complaints as opportunities to build customer loyalty. Angry customers today can become some of your biggest supporters later. How many times have you heard, “Well, I had a problem with X company, once, but they treated me fairly and I haven’t had a problem since.” Check out my blog about ensuring customer satisfaction in agricultural sales for more info on this topic (LINK).
Want to learn more about best practices for customer service in agricultural sales? Click here to download our free worksheet that will help you assess your current level of skill in building customer loyalty as an ag-sales professional!