Around The World | December 2012

Thru my travels and visits with breeders across the country, the majority of the conversation is about product improvement, EPDs, genomics and a wide variety of breed-related topics. So rather than rehashing those, I thought it’d write about something that is often thought about, but rarely discussed in great length—customer appreciation.

I recently read an article about customer service titled “The Ten Commandments of Great Customer Service” by Susan Friedmann, and thought I’d share some of her thoughts and my interpretation of what I read.

Know who is boss—There’s no doubt we all captain our own ship, but never lose sight that the customer is the one signing the check. Yielding to a customer’s needs usually pays dividends.

Be a good listener—Concentrate on what your customer is really saying and asking for.

Identify and anticipate needs—The more you talk to and get to know your customers, the better you can anticipate their needs.

Make customers feel important—Involve them in what your program is doing. It’s a way to stay in communication with them when your not selling something.

Help customers understand your operation—You might have the world’s best program or marketing plan, but if customers don’t understand it, they can get confused, impatient and angry. Take time to explain how your program works and think of ways to simplify transactions.

Don’t be scared to say yes—Look for ways to help your customers. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable) tell them you can do it.

Know how to apologize—When something goes wrong, apologize. The customer may not always be right, but the customer must always win. Deal with problems immediately.

Give more than expected—Since the future of all programs lies in keeping customers happy, think of ways to elevate yourself above the competition. Ask yourself, what can I give a customer that they can’t get elsewhere?

Get regular feedback—Encourage and welcome suggestions about how you can improve.

Say thank you—It’s the easiest thing to do and it’s often done, but think outside the box and make sure your customers know you care and appreciate them.

One of the most important parts in marketing and growing your program is spending the time it takes to build customer relationships.
I challenge you to give your customer service program some thought before the spring sale season.

God Bless and Happy Holidays.

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