This translates into customer loyalty. When a customer and rep have teamed up for a long time, a strong bond forms. The relationship become quite meaningful. The rep has extreme value for the customer. Does management even know?
Whether people in this service role are called sales reps, CSRs or Account Managers, here are some key reasons why a bond forms with certain customers:
– The rep knows the customer’s preferences and idiosyncrasies.
– The rep has the customer’s best interest in mind.
– The rep offers suggestions to help projects or prevent problems.
– The rep takes care of zillions of details behind the scenes, inside the plant.
– The rep’s become a trusted and respected ally, on whom the customer depends.
When a rep has our back, there’s no better reason to stick with a printer.
These relationships are often the main reason why customers will recommend you to others.
Management shouldn’t wait till a crisis occurs (i.e., the rep skedaddles). If the bond is that strong between customer and rep, you need to get involved – appropriately, occasionally – so customers get to know other people in the company. Then the relationship a customer has with your company won’t be tied to a certain person.
Yes, customers get attached to their reps. It’s strictly professional and altogether human.
So what do you do, as a print company CEO or sales manager, when a beloved rep leaves the company? Maybe the customer knows about it, but maybe not.
The best advice I can give you is this: call customers (particularly if you know there are long-term relationships at stake) and talk about it. Share with them whatever information you can. Let them know how you’re going to handle their account in light of the departed rep. Tell them who their new rep will be and what he or she brings to the table. And then….listen.
Let them tell you how they feel. Reassure them that their business is valuable to you. Ask them what they need during the transition to a new rep. Introduce their new rep personally.
And keep in touch over the coming weeks and months to make sure their work is on track and their wounded hearts, on the mend.
© 2014 Margie Dana