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Upgrade That

TelePacific Talks | August 2010

Up to Date News From TelePacific: Customize and Sell Customize and Sell| TelePacific News

Add a Rice Krispy treat to your meal for only $1? Customization is almost a requirement these days. No one is satisfied with the standard computer—they have to upgrade the hard drive, get a better monitor and add special software. People don’t just order a coffee—they want an extra large, half-caf, non-fat, extra hot cinnamon hazelnut latte with no foam and extra cinnamon sprinkles.

Where did this customization trend start? Some might say it was with Henry Ford and the Model-T, when car buyers could for the first time specify the color (“as long as it was black”—hey, there are a lot of different black paints, you know). And it continues today, because everyone wants to be different, special or treated a little like a celebrity. While it can sometimes be difficult to manage all these special requests, it’s critical to do so in the name of customer service.

It’s important for you to think about how you can help customers solve their business challenges, and ask your customers questions to ensure they are getting what they need. Each customer and situation is different and unique, even if there are similarities, and each customer needs a customized solution to their business requirements.

For example, what does the accounting manager for a multi-location law firm need to be successful? Good billing software, people who submit their time and expense reports on schedule and an assistant. Maybe she is better off working with vendors who provide one bill that covers service at all of their locations. And vendors who allow her to track usage of conference calls, long distance calls and office supplies so she can bill clients for usage related to their projects.

What does a salesperson at a manufacturing company need to be successful? Other than customers who are willing and able to buy what he is selling, of course. It would probably be helpful for him to have a Wi-Fi-enabled computer so he can give customer presentations when he’s on the road. Some type of mobile device would also be good so he can always be available, whether he is in the office or not. And a secure VPN to allow him to access files remotely, update the company intranet and file expense reports would probably be invaluable.

What about the IT manager? She probably has lots of business needs: fast equipment, reliable telecommunications service, people who don’t muck up their computers...the list could go on. It would probably be helpful to her to work with a vendor that has a great reputation for responsive customer service. And vendors who offer easy account management, like an online portal to track usage, request account changes or new equipment and submit helpdesk requests.

Chances are, you can help customers with these problems. Maybe not all of them, but that’s why you partner with other vendors so you can bring customers a complete solution. So be sure to think about your customer’s needs and how you and your partners can help them before you make your next sales may turn into your most successful call yet!

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