International Door & Operator Industry

SEP-OCT 2012

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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SALES&MARKETING (continued from page 32) "Manning the showroom is critical, but it is equally critical that the showroom be clean, well organized and up-to-date." potential customer more than calling a fi rm, not having the call answered and instead receiving a recorded message. This begs the question of whether or not we can afford the luxury of an impersonal phone tree. Many older customers hate these automated answering systems. Equally worse is having a "useless" em- ployee explain to the customer that he or she cannot answer a question while requesting the customer to call back. The customer usually will not call back. The solution is a well crafted training session for all offi ce employees to be able to politely and succinctly fi eld all calls. Next, showrooms must be manned at all times. During these times of reduced staff, it may seem there is not a qualifi ed employee available to attend to a showroom walk-in customer. Studies have consistently shown that the chance to successfully sell a truly interested showroom walk-in customer is over 70%. With this sure opportunity to sell a customer, managers cannot allow bad customer service to wreck this opportunity. The solution is to train all offi ce employees to sell to showroom customers. If the customer is turned away because there is no one to talk to the customer, the opportunity of a second chance is close to nil. The customer will simply go to a competitor in search of a door fi rm that cares. Manning the showroom is critical, but it is equally critical that the showroom be clean, well organized and up-to-date. A dirty or un-kept showroom displaying discontinued garage door models will not impress an eager-to-buy customer. A messy, ill-kept showroom tells a customer you do not care. It is an old cliché, but you truly do have only one chance to make a fi rst impression. It is one thing to get the sale, but almost more important to perform well for the customer. Do not ruin the customer's expectation through constant delays for the installation. If a carriage house door takes three weeks to receive from the factory and another week for scheduling and installation, make sure the customer understands the time line. Never lie to a customer regarding installation dates just to get the sale. An untruthful promise can destroy all the goodwill built between the dealership and a customer when an expected installation date is continuously pushed back, especially if the customer feels trapped because of a substantial deposit made on the job. A dealership sometimes falls short because a cantankerous fi eld employee does not have customer service skills. Some dealers make the mistake in believing that the installer's poor customer service skills are trumped by his installation skills. A skilled technician still has to deal with customers. He or she must be trained in customer service skills. An installer with an aggressive personality or a sour disposition or one who spews expletives on a regular basis is a liability to the dealership when the dealership is trying to build customer service in this environment when the customer is absolutely king. If the installer turns off the customer, he costs the fi rm the invaluable positive word-of-mouth advertising that is critical for the fi rm who understands they must go to the customer instead of having the customer go to them. Customer service is more critical today than ever before. The Internet allows customers to be more knowledgeable about garage doors than ever before. The goal of advertising is to draw potential customers to the dealership. Bad phone skills, poor management of the showroom sales effort or failure to meet installation promises can ruin customer service expectations. Even unthinking or stupid actions by fi eld employees can torpedo the customer's happiness with your fi rm leading to negative word-of-mouth advertising. Bad customer service takes lots of time to correct. I am still mad at that Maine airport. John E. Zoller and David H. Bowen comprise Zoller Consulting, Inc. of Wooster, Ohio. Zoller Consulting provides consultation of managerial effectiveness and fi nancial performance of construction related businesses. They also offer customized seminars and training sessions. In addition, Zoller Consulting provides acquisition management, including fi nding buyers or sellers, locating funding sources, transaction structuring, and negotiating and organizing the transition to new ownership. Contact Zoller Consulting, Inc. at 330.262.8500 or John@zollerconsultinginc.com. VOLUME 45 ISSUE 5 2012 35

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