In today’s information age, with unlimited access to information, you may find your customers are often more educated and knowledgeable about your products and services than your team.
I recently spent a couple of hours researching the offerings of the various cellular data companies. I did not engage with a single person, until I called the selected provider to finalise the purchase. The salesperson knew nothing about the product I wanted, didn’t know it existed, and tried to sell me other products I didn’t want or need. I had to point him in the right direction and literally sell the benefits of his product to him! Why did it take a customer to educate the salesperson about their own products?
Customers have more access to product knowledge through the internet, social media and other channels. In addition, staff turnover with restless and ambitious “millennial” employees means your customers’ loyalty and patronage sometimes outlasts that of your employees, resulting in knowledgeable customers with greater experience than your team! How often do you find yourself explaining the menu to a new waiter at your local regular restaurant?
An educated and knowledgeable customer can make the job of the salesperson that much easier, but it can also expose weaknesses in your business if your team’s knowledge doesn’t match that of the client.
So how do we respond and stay ahead of our increasingly knowledgeable customers? In my experience as a business coach, there are a couple of processes and operational issues that have become more important than ever.
Source of knowledge
Make sure your customers are getting their knowledge and content from you! If your content and communication to your customers is effective, their knowledge will be influenced by your messages and thinking, and you are more likely to be aligned with your customers and talk the same language.
Training of your employees is critical. Knowledge of the product and service you offer has to exceed that of your customers. The people who you trust to engage with your customers need to know the business and its offerings inside out.
This is vital. It’s likely that your customers are talking to your competitors and are probably more knowledgeable about who is offering what, at what price, than you and your team.
Service is the only thing that will set you apart. Knowledge, information and access to products is no longer unique or a business differentiator. The way you engage with your customers and the experience they have when dealing with you is what will provide the competitive edge.
Have the conversation internally. How often is your team engaging with customers who have more knowledge about your service, product or industry than your employees? Then put a plan in place to address it. Contact me if you need help.
Knowledge is king. So is the customer. Empower your team to serve them at a level that meets their expectations.