Being Part of the Bigger Picture. What makes relationships successful?

As a leader in water technology, relationships with OEMs are an important part of our business since our pumps and controls are used in a variety of systems worldwide.

And since many of these OEM systems go into supplying potable water for critical applications in commercial and residential buildings, it is critical that the OEMs and their suppliers have faith and trust in one another. After all, success is measured not only by how many products we sale, but how our relationships with engineers, contractors, and designers develop into accounts with continued business.

In speaking with one of our supply chain partners recently, we were discussing what makes for a good trusting relationship when the stakes are so high. We’d be interested in your thoughts on some of the following relationship refreshers.

Five tips for good customer service and sales etiquette:

You Value Your Customers, Now Let Them Know It
Your customers want to feel as though you value them and the business they give your company, no matter how big or small. They want to believe that when they contact you for any reason that you are going to be in tune with them, giving them attention, listening to what they have to say, and being respectful – all at the same time.

Understand That Time Is Of The Essence
Your customer’s time is just as valuable as your own and when dealing with OEM accounts keep in mind that they are also working within additional deadlines given to them by their customers. Customers expect you to make sure that you do everything you can to minimize their wait time, answer their questions, and refrain from passing the buck. If there is a question that you cannot answer, you should immediately find out who can answer it and refer the customer to that person. Refrain from passing the customer from person to person in efforts to find the answer, send them to the right person the first time, if at all possible.

Know Your Business and Employees That Know Your Business
There is nothing worse in customer service than a customer who gets a sales person or operator who has no clue as to what they are talking about. OEM accounts usually involve extra effort and additional knowledge from the sales team. It is crucial to have extensive knowledge of your entire business and products. This means every element from prices of products to services and all the way down to promotions, guarantees, as well as policies and warranties.

Always tell your customer what you CAN do for them
OEM customers come to you needing a solution to a problem. Going the extra mile and thinking outside the box to provide the best, most efficient, and most cost effective solution will help you gain trust and loyalty from them which will result in repeat business.

Remain Cordial Even In The Face Of Anger
You should expect to deal with difficult and demanding customers. However, you should have the ability to deal with these types of customers without losing your own cool, your respect, your attention, and your listening skills. If you are nice and professional with them, chances are their attitudes will change while dealing with you. Make sure you allow your customers to vent. Do not interrupt them or start to speak until they have finished having their say and then make every effort to resolve their problems and keep them as a customer in the future.

The big money isn’t as much in winning customers as in keeping customers and the key to keeping customers is the level of customer service you provide.