BSBCUE203 – Arrange Provision of a Product or Service
Respond Appropriately to Customer Requirements and Identify Relevant Options
Once you have understood what product or service the customer wants, you then need to take actions to satisfy their requests. One way you can do this is by responding appropriately.
Recording Details in the System
Whether interacting with a client over the phone or face-to-face, it is important to record their personal details, such as name and contact information, as well as the details of what product or service the customer wants. By entering these details into your organisation’s information management systems, it allows you, or any other employee who may deal with the same client, to see clearly what they need as well as any extra information and then respond appropriately by taking the necessary action.
Discussing, Agreeing, and Recording Supply Arrangements with Customers
As well as recording personal details and product or service details, it is also essential to clearly discuss and agree on how and when the product will be supplied or delivered. This agreed information must all be recorded. Employees can’t keep track of every single customer they deal with, hence the use of systems which allow employees to record important information.
Whilst it acts as a reference point for employees, it also acts as a protection mechanism for the company. If a customer calls to complain, for example, that the goods or services ordered where not delivered on time, the company’s information system can be referred to so that an employee can cross-check what the actual (agreed) delivery date and time would be. This can help dissolve any discrepancies.
Discussing and Agreeing on Payment Options with Customers Conducting a Credit Check
There are many payment options that a business could offer to their customers.
• Credit or debit cards
• Bank transfers
• Loans (with or without interest).
Companies may offer all the above payment options, or they could offer a smaller amount of payment options. These payment options must be made clear to the customer. Payment due dates must also be made clear as well. All terms and conditions regarding purchases, payments, returns, and warranties must be clearly discussed, and all points made understandable to the customer.
Where bulky goods or highly expensive goods are being purchased on loan from a company, store policy will require that a credit check is conducted on the customer to see that they can successfully meet monthly, fortnightly, or weekly repayments. A credit check entails checking an individual’s personal details, address, employment history, current employer, and income, and payment history for loans and debts.
When an individual has a poor repayment history, they may be rejected by the organisation, and thus would not be able to purchase the product or service by taking a loan.
Select Appropriate Product or Service in Consultation with Customer
The key element to remember when interacting with customers is to be helpful and to be attentive whilst they are discussing their needs with you. To be most helpful, customer service representatives need to have a thorough knowledge of all products and services available. Being able to quickly direct customers to the correct department or to describe the service most relevant to them is a must.
When selecting the product or service to meet a customer’s needs, explain to them why that product or service is best suited for them. When there are multiple options for the customer, you should take the initiative to explain each of these options to the customer. In the end, it is up to the customer which product or service they pick.
Factors a customer will take into consideration when deciding on which product best meets their needs and wants include:
• Warranty information
• Product or service features
• What they need the product or service for
• The duration they will need to use the product or service
• The brand or image associated with the goods and services
• The reliability of the product – quality of material, internal machines, and parts.
You should go out of your way to share this kind of information with a customer so they can decide on what product or service they would like to buy.
Agree Actions or Orders with Customer Giving Consideration to Maximising Value and Service Delivery to Customer
Having given an interested customer the right amount and type of attention and information, it will hopefully lead the customer to purchase a product or service. When this happens, employees must take the opportunity to maximise the value and service delivery to the customer.
An organisation will want to maximise value because they want a loyal customer, which will lead to future purchases. The approach that is used to try and maximise value and service delivery should be done gently. That is, employees should avoid being overbearing to customers. If a customer has chosen to purchase a product or service from your organisation, it means that they trust your organisation to have the right product on offer for them as well the correct level of value they want.
What then can be done to try and maximise customer value and service delivery? Here are some examples:
- Offer a slight price reduction
• Introduce them to any organisational loyalty programs and the benefits of joining the loyalty program such as a rewards program and exclusive treatment as a loyal customer
• Offer vouchers to encourage customers to return to the company
• Suggest accompanying products or services that are frequently used in association with the product or service that the customer is purchasing.
Consider Customer Retention Options that Can Be Applied to the Engagement
At this point, when a customer has enough confidence to purchase goods and services from an organisation, the next step is to find ways to retain these customers so that they become repeat customers and become loyal to the company. Customers will not become loyal unless they have a good reason. They need to see benefits in becoming a loyal customer. Competition between companies within industries is so intense, that whilst they are competitive with the products and service, they work harder and harder to develop enticing customer retention strategies. Customer retention options will be introduced below.
Customer Retention Options
- Loyalty Programs or Incentives
The concept of loyalty programs was touched on earlier. Are you familiar with the Woolworths Everyday Rewards card or the Coles Flybuys card? These are examples of loyalty programs. The key features of loyalty programs include:
- Discounted prices on certain products (as the organisation runs promotions on a selected range of their products).
• Special invitations to sales or promotions that the company is running.
• Vouchers to spend in-store once a customer has spent a certain amount of money.
• A set percentage discount on each purchase a customer makes. Once a customer has spent a certain amount of money, their percentage discount may increase. For example, a new loyalty card may be on a bronze status, receiving a 5% discount on all purchases they make. Once they have spent $1000, they will progress to becoming a silver member with a 10% discount on all purchases, and so on.
• The loyalty program may be points based in that for each dollar you spend you get one point. Once you have reached a certain amount of points, you may receive a voucher to spend in-store, valued at a certain amount.
• It may be a program such as those that coffee shops have, buy 9 cups, get the 10th free.
As you can see, there are a variety of ways loyalty programs can be implemented, just as each company has a different approach to retaining a customer. What they choose to implement should technically be based on researching the market segment they are serving, the type of product or service being sold, as well as their position in the market compared to their competitors.
- Offering Value-Added Services or Products
Value-added services are those extra or complementary services that an organisation chooses to offer its customers. For example, if customers buy a certain amount of carpeting, the company may offer them a free carpet clean. If a car is purchased, the dealer may offer a free car service at the end of 3 months or if the car reaches a specific mileage, whichever comes first.
The value-added service depends entirely on what service or product the company is selling. Companies will choose if they want to offer a value-added service. The benefits of value-added services include customers receiving a service that they did not necessarily need. It leads to increased and positive client-company interactions, and it can lead to increased company growth and an improved company image.
Re-contracting is the process of signing a new contract after the current contract expires. A good example that comes to mind is that of mobile phone companies. If a customer is on a post-paid plan, they sign a contract agreeing to pay a set amount per month for a certain amount of time (usually 24 months). When a customer is nearing the end of their contract, they receive a phone call from their provider informing them that their contract is coming to an end and offer them a new mobile phone on a new contract, either paying the same amount they were, or if they choose a higher or lower plan. When the customer agrees to sign another contract with the company, this is re-contracting.
For re-contracting to occur, the company needs to ensure that they are providing a good service for the duration of the contract, as that will influence whether or not a customer will choose to renew their contract.
- Special Offers as Determined By the Enterprise From Time-to-Time
This refers to discounted goods that a company will have available, for a limited period. At times, these discounts will only be offered to customers who are already part of a loyalty program, or they may be offered to the general public. Think about the junk mail that you receive occasionally. Different stores offer discounts on a variety of goods and services, some examples including groceries, solar panels, or school tuition offers.
Use Clear, Simple, and Easy to Understand Language and Ensure Responses are Comprehensive
A key component of customer service is good communication. Good communication entails that whatever information is shared is understood by both parties. This entails the integration of active listening, positive body language, and effective questioning to best understand each other. But whilst you use all these concepts together, you need to remember to use clear, simple, and easy to understand language.
Factors you should keep in mind when interacting with customers include:
- Not all customers you interact with will speak fluent English, so when you determine that a customer may not speak English fluently, make sure that you use simple English.
• Whilst you may be very knowledgeable about the product or service you are selling, customers may not be. Because of this fact, it is important that you use simple and easy to understand language. Avoid jargon or technical terms, as you will only end up confusing your customer.
• Gauge your customers, do not overwhelm them with information.
• Be patient and calm.
• Answer questions honestly.
• Look to explain all terms and conditions clearly and simply, use paraphrasing.
- Interacting with and responding to customers is an important part of customer services.
- Gathering enough information from customers allows the correct product or service to be selected for them.
- Part of the process of making customers loyal is to offer them a special deal of some sort when they do agree to buy the product.
- Offers to become loyal customers need to show great benefit to the customer in becoming a loyal member.