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Notes On Customer Service
By John Kilroy on March 27, 2012

We received many generous comments from PRI Trade Show exhibitors last week regarding the value of  the customer service they receive from PRI folks—individually and as a team. It made me think of trying to put it into words, so our customers know they will continue to get this level of customer service at the 2012 PRI Trade Show. Here’s what you can expect:

1) Good customer service is as important as the initial sale. There are studies that bear out the high costs of getting a new customer versus the efficiencies in keeping customers loyal to your product or service. It just makes sense. Losing a customer due to poor service should be viewed as disastrous and costly. There’s no need for it. The vast majority of what your customers ask of your company are reasonable, sensible, doable. Just do it. Right away.

2) Everybody’s involved. While salespeople are most closely connected to customers, the entire company should be involved in customer service. For the initial sale, it’s typically the salesperson who identifies the potential customer, works with them, then closes them. But once that person or company becomes a customer, the whole company should feel an obligation to provide the customer service that keeps the customer loyal. The whole company should share a concern of losing a customer due to poor customer service.

3) Treat customers the way you want to be treated. This is the easiest way to think of what customer service truly is. We all have our moments as customers when we are frustrated or angry. Seize these moments to vow that they will never occur within your own company. Exhibiting in a trade show is a complex endeavor. Our customers bring the extraordinary technical innovations that draw thousands of racing entrepreneurs from around the country. The logistics of doing this are complicated enough. We’re here to help smooth the way. It’s another way of saying, “Thank you.”

4) Solve the problem right where you stand. At PRI, we encourage every member of the team at the Trade Show to solve any exhibitor problems right where they stand, as soon as they encounter them. If they need to consult someone for an answer, they are to get on the mobile phone or the radio and get an answer. There is no such thing as, “It’s not my department.” Resolve the issue immediately. Take charge. Complete the task now.

5) Follow up. Confirm that the issue has been resolved. It’s an amazing thing to check back with a customer to verify that everything’s OK. They don’t expect it. You’re greeted like a friend.

6) Individual people trust individual people. Companies can make up policies and executives can give speeches, but most of business still boils down to our humanity. The truth is that human beings establish trust with specific people more so than with companies. At PRI, we have individuals throughout the company who have friends throughout the industry. During the Trade Show, we take people out of their weekly positions at PRI, and place them with different responsibilities in the Trade Show. Our customers have come to trust the familiar PRI faces that greet them at Exhibitor Registration. The PRI folks who work as Show Floor Managers during move-in have proven themselves helpful over and over again. Our customers can rely on them. They know them by name.

7) Put time on your side. We plan the PRI Trade Show the entire year. Part of the planning process is figuring out how to remove any confusion or time-wasting endeavors when it comes to exhibiting in the PRI Trade Show. From signage to team responsibilities, we plan ahead to build a ‘smooth road’ to exhibiting.

8) Have fun. The racing industry is filled with a lot of great people. Let’s enjoy this.

9) Thank you for your business. This is a sentiment too often missed at the end of the day. But it seems to secure the value of customer service. All companies work hard to put their best product or service on the market at the best price. The goal is to be competitive….to win in the demanding marketplace. However, when it comes to customer service, it’s a powerful thing when the entire company pauses to be grateful to the companies with which they’ve done business. Yes. Thank you for your business.

About the Author
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John Kilroy is the Publisher of Performance Racing Industry magazine.
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