"This Is Your CEO Speaking, How Can I Help You?"

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It’s a daring move, but well worth the effort.
A recent story in Business Week presents this rather unique approach to building trust and credibility with your customers and prospects. Most recently used by online personal financial services companies, it’s an amazingly valuable way for CEO’s and others to hear the voice of the customer for themselves. All it takes is an hour a week, and a dedicated phone line.
By spending time on the phones (or reading e-mails if phone work isn’t possible), senior executives have access to some pretty valuable data — how customers see you or your products, the experience they have with your company and the things that are important to them. This may, or may not be the messages you share in your advertising. Over time, you’ll get a fabulously accurate picture of your customer — a profile thats realistic and timely. Beyond this, your employees get the message that quality service is important enough for everyone, even the big guys, to make time for it.
What’s more, the experience you give to the customers (or prospective ones) you speak with is invaluable. Whether you make an immediate sale or not, the goodwill and buzz you generate is worth its weight in gold. You leave callers with a memorable, hopefully positive, experience. By listening to customers questions or complaints, your get the chance to share your expertise and willingness to meet their needs. In the case discussed in the article, the focus is on providing the best service, not necessarily the most expensive one. the focus is on service and relationships — not profit and loss.
In a tight economy, remember how much repeat business can do for you. By taking the time to listen to your customers you’ll be in a great position to earn just that. And maybe just a little bit more.
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