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Triangle – the conclusion…

This is the last little ditty devoted to the term “engagement” that is prominently used in Corporate America today.  I believe the term engagement has us surrounded.

Much has been said and much has been written about Leadership Engagement – that was my first post in this triangle series http://thequoteguys.com/2016/03/triangle-the-series/ .  Employee Engagement has also received lots of attention – that was the second corner of the triangle http://thequoteguys.com/2016/03/triangle-the-series-continues/ .  Today, let’s turn our attention to Customer Engagement.

I believe we can “feel” customer engagement when they are collaborating with us; i.e. actively participating with us in the pursuit of their solution (or problem resolution).

Alternatively, we’ve all experienced “that client” whose opinion of our company’s product or service wasn’t so hot:

After exhausting every possible way to assist an irate client for the past 45 minutes, and then concluding her phone conversation in the professional manner she had been trained for, the client service representative was heard to let out a pent-up, rhetorical question of frustration, “What does this customer want me to do about their problem, perform magic”?

Is magic (aka venting) the same as collaboration?  I don’t think so.

I’m referring to those customer interactions we have experienced where they help us help them.  I’m remembering situations where the customer wanted us to get it right.  And on those occasions when we strayed from what’s important – they offered us course-correction:

As a young, inexperienced salesman he was simply following the 1st call script he had been trained on.  Sitting in front of the Director of MIS of his largest prospect the salesman repeatedly emphasized his company’s outstanding customer service which he had rehearsed over and over again with his sales manager.  The sales rep ground on “service” and “servicing” to the point that the MIS Director finally interjected; 

“Gary, my family owns a dairy farm.  And periodically we take our cows down to a neighbor who has a bull so we can have our cows serviced.  You might consider not telling me how your company is going to service me.”

The young, inexperienced salesman course-corrected at his client’s suggestion and succeeded in securing a new account.

I suppose it can be hard to follow our customers’ direction at times.  I mean, we have invested all of that energy and effort becoming experts with our products and services – we’d like the customer to patiently sit there and listen to us spew all of our expertise, true?

Perhaps we can heed the advice Tom Sant wrote about way back in the 1990’s in his book Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win Customers, Clients, and Contracts ©

“GYST”:  Don’t write anything until you “Get Your Stuff Together.”  Lots of gas-filled balloons are launched from word processors by people who began to write before they really knew what they were talking about, why they were talking about it, or to whom they were talking.

If we can get past the spewing; if we can get to the GYST; if we can listen to our customer’s input; more times than not they will tell us exactly how to sell them; exactly how to get it right.  Besides, though we may think of ourselves as experts, our clients usually know the truth:

Make three correct guesses consecutively, and you will establish a reputation as an expert. 

Lawrence Peter

So let’s stop guessing; invite customer engagement; stop talking at them; start collaborating with them; accept their course-corrections; and gain their business.  After all, the commissions pay the same, true?

GAP

 

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