With the advent of highly automated customer service based out of large call centres, it is challenging to deliver personalized customer service. Modern-day sales strategies state that it is critical to know, understand how to pronounce, and actively use your customer’s name. Starbucks was one of the first large companies to popularize this trend by taking their customers’ names and calling them out when the order was ready. They found this personal touch built trust and strengthened the relationship with the client.
There is no question that using a customer’s name for a fast retail transaction is an effective way to exceed expectations and generate repeat business. While this principle can be applied and extrapolated to other industries and sales types, it falls short when applied to higher-value longer cycle-time sales.
For long-term and more complex customer relationships, it is essential to take the time to cultivate a personalized relationship that goes far beyond a customer’s name.
Working in the same industry and being local to your customers opens the door to many synergistic relationships. You will all be members of the same chamber of commerce and network with the same groups of people. You will know what each of your clients sells and recommend one client’s products to another to help both parties succeed. Word of mouth advertising and personal recommendations go a long way to helping all parties enter into pre-vetted and trusted business relationships. The only way this can happen is by working locally and taking the time to get to know all your clients, understand their businesses, learn their strengths, and share this knowledge with others who might benefit.
Another tremendous advantage to this close type of working-relationship is you will know what products they need and always be on the lookout for them. For example, if you know that a local transport customer needs a new trailer and one of your trailer clients recently received an excellent trade-in, you can help make the deal happen. That is a value-added relationship.
We had an excellent example of this recently when a trucking client of ours had a lucrative opportunity arise more specific to the mining industry. He needed to quickly pivot and acquire the machinery necessary to solidify the contract. The problem he faced was being one year into a five-year financing agreement on his new truck.
He shared his challenge with us, and we found another client looking for the same truck but with slightly lower payments. We worked with the lender to redo the contract, transfer the truck, and add six months to the term. In the end, both clients were happy, and our client was able to quickly seize the mining opportunity and not impact his credit in the process.
Specific to financing, working with a personalized financial services team and having pre-approved financing details on file also speeds up your ability to secure fast-moving deals. It also saves a lot of administrative time and short-term pain. You will know precisely what you can purchase, what it will cost, and avoid time-consuming trips to the bank and the associated paperwork with your accountant. A recent study detailed that “63% of U.S. consumers are willing to share their protected, personal information with a company in exchange for a great customer experience—because they know it saves them time, and makes their lives easier.”
We refer to this as an omnichannel service where we can help you finance a piece of equipment and help sell outdated equipment in the process. We can help you buy, finance, sell, and save time all in the same deal. It is a win-win for all parties involved and something that would be very difficult for remote or online financial representatives to replicate. The fact is, even with today’s advanced technologies, there remains significant value in personalized, face-to-face relationships.
Recently, a long-term client was considering purchasing another building. Unfortunately, his bank did not give him the terms and cooperation that he felt he deserved for being a profitable long-standing customer. We looked at his balance sheet and targeted an expensive piece of equipment that he owned. Refinancing the equipment gave him the equity he needed to purchase the property outright and secure better terms than the bank offered. It was a win-win and something that would have been impossible without a long-standing personalized relationship.
Personalized business to business relationships also provide all parties with the ability to deliver on and meet client expectations. Customers expect top-notch service and demand the best quality product for the lowest price. However, they often don’t want to do their part by investing time in the relationship. It is a tall order to expect a remote call centre agent with minimal knowledge of a client’s business to deliver a genuinely high-quality sales experience. They don’t have the advantage of intimately understanding their client’s needs as well as the surrounding network of complementary businesses that might indirectly add value to the transaction.
In summary, it is refreshing in today’s online world to know and validate that personalized service still delivers significant value, particularly with more complex commercial sales and business to business relationships. At Premier Equipment Finance, we still believe in personalized service. We encourage you to reach out and experience the difference for yourself if you are in the market for adding equipment to your business.