Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 23 Give Value Added Customer Service

 Today’s Task:      Make a list of ways you can add value to our products    

My husband is a computer guy (okay technically he is a system’s administrator). His job is extremely technical and as a part of his job he purchases very expensive products and services.

When he is purchasing he has a choice. He can:
1. Purchase directly from the manufacturer (like Dell, HP, etc.)
2. He can purchase from a “Value Added” Reseller.

He recently purchased a very expensive piece of equipment (a SAN for those who are interested). The final 2 choices were between a VAR that he had built a good relationship with and a manufacturer directly. The VAR had established a relationship and proven that "value added" was more than a label. It was the core of their business. When pricing came in, the VAR was not even going to be in the running. He worked with them on pricing and eventually purchased the product from them. Why didn't my husband see the price discrepancy and write them off at the start? Why did he work with them to make sure they had a competitive price? Because as a reseller the added a LOT of value. 

When I asked him why, and what value they added, it boiled down to 2 things.

1. They are advocates for the customer — As a reseller, they represent many customers and carry much more weight with the company. When my husband has a problem the reseller uses this weight to advocate on his behalf.

2. Product Expertise — The reseller invests their time and money educating their employees. Often when my husband has a question or problem, he can avoid the support calls (they are just as miserable for professionals as they are for you) and go to the reseller. They have engineers that are able to address most concerns. This is much more painless and significantly faster.

How does this relate to being a Shelf Reliance Consultant?  As consultant we provided value added services.  This is why people buy from us.  In fact the entire reason that Shelf Reliance decided to have a home party program is because they wanted people to be able to eat the food.  And that is what we do.  We provide a setting where people can come and try some samples and learn a little more about our products. 

What value added services do I offer my customers?
  1. I advocate for them—if they have a problem I take care of it, if they have a product suggestion I pass it on, if they have an issue with shipping or back orders, or they want their Q set up differently.  I advocate for them and make it happen. 
  2. I offer product expertise—when a customer has questions about which products to buy I offer an educated opinion, when a customer has a question on how to use a product I provide clear instructions and personal experience.   I always offer honest and opens opinions (I don’t like everything and I am willing to tell customers what not to buy).

Today’s Worksheet:  What can I offer to my customers that are value added?   

You can print out today’s worksheet here:  Day 23 Value Added Worksheet

Here is the text of the worksheet:

Make a list of ways you can advocate for your customers:

Make a list of ways you can offer product expertise to your customers:

What do you need to do so you can develop more product expertise?

What do you need to do so you can be a better advocate for you customers?

     Today’s Notes 

If you feel like the list of things you can do to add value to your customer is short than get to work.  Develop your skills and knowledge so you can offer your customers a variety of things. 

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