“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” – Walt Disney

We’ve been focusing the last few blogs on delivery systems. How does your company get your product to the customer quickly, profitably, and with a high level of quality? Getting the product out the door is, of course, one of the most important aspects of doing business. But what about follow up? What happens after the product has been delivered?

All too often, companies move on to the next delivery without seeing the process through and insuring that customer expectations have been met. Failure to implement post-delivery protocols can easily result in dissatisfied and confused customers who don’t know where to turn for help.

Here are some keys to managing your deliveries beyond the hand-off to the customer. Remember, when we talk about deliveries, we’re talking about any product, service, or project that your company sells.

Responsibility – Who on your team is responsible for the product after the customer receives it? Is it the salesperson? Customer service? The production team? It’s important to clarify who the customer should have as a point person for any questions or concerns they have once the product is in their hands.

Follow Up – Do you have a plan in place for following up with the customer? If not, you risk not knowing if the product made it to them at all, if they are happy with it, or what you can do to fix any problems with the order. A simple system for following up with a phone call or appointment can greatly improve the customer experience and help you to avoid unnecessary upsets. Follow up calls can also be an opportunity to upsell the customer with complimentary services.

Returns – What is your return policy? Is it clear and easy for the customer to understand? Does the customer know who to contact or how soon he must voice a complaint? Does your policy allow for enough customer leeway in getting what they want? Too much leeway? How does your return policy affect your product profitability?

Re-Orders – If you sell a product that customers need to purchase repetitively, do you make the re-order process clear and easy to understand? Is someone at your company responsible for following up and asking for re-orders? Do you offer incentives for customers who want to re-order within a certain amount of time or at a certain volume?

What’s Working?/What Isn’t? – Ultimately, the key to any delivery system’s success is oversight. Management must consistently review what’s working and what isn’t. From the customer’s standpoint, the delivery of your product or service should be effortless. A good customer experience is essential if you want to retain clients and obtain new ones. Your delivery system should not allow for repeated bottlenecks, errors or breakdowns. Consistent monitoring of your system will insure that problems can be addressed quickly and efficiently, making the customer feel like a winner for having done business with you.

Always remember that your client relationship doesn’t stop when the product reaches their front door. Developing a strategy for leveraging off a job well done will result in happier customers, more orders and an excellent reputation in the marketplace. And that’s a great way to win the game of business.

 

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Ralph White
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