BSBCUE309 – Convert Product and Service Knowledge into Benefits Copy

BSBCUE309 – Convert Product and Service Knowledge into Benefits Copy

Translate

Topic Audio


Element 3: Convert Product and Service Knowledge into Benefits

Performance Criteria Element 3

3.1 Identify features of products and services that have potential buyer or user appeal

3.2 Present relevant features of products and services as benefits to the stakeholder

3.3 Present benefits of products and services within the context of organisational requirements and legislation.

Convert Product and Service Knowledge into Benefits

Identify Features of Products and Services with Potential Buyer or User Appeal

A product feature is a tangible or measurable characteristic.

This refers to things you should be able to:

• see

• smell

• hear

• touch

• taste

• measure in some way

Matching Products or Services and Client Needs

The key learning point here is that a disciplined approach to listening to customers and translating their wants and needs into products and services is the basis for managing the customer relationship and meeting potential buyer needs.

The potential customers in your organisation come into a transaction with preconceived ideas about what they want and what they need, and most importantly what they expect. It is critical that you understand this before you begin the process of offering these to your customer base.

People want, as a minimum, to get what they expect. Anything above this can be seen as an exceptional way of building positive feelings among your staff and customers. Exceeding expectations is always the ultimate goal.

Customer service aids profitability, and ensures that you as a company are in the best position to provide your customers with what they want to meet their needs. In order to accomplish this, you will need to:

• Become familiar with your customers and establish trusting relationships with them
• Ask your customers what their expectations are
• Live up to their expectations and plan to exceed them whenever possible
• Be consistent and courteous when serving your customers.

In delivering quality customer service, first impressions count for a lot! They are very important to your ability to provide top quality customer service. You are limited by only having the ability to communicate verbally. This must complement the professional viewpoint that you are trying to portray to your customers. In doing this, you must consider not only the words you use but also your posture and facial expressions. I am sure that you have been told that you can ‘hear a smile’ over the phone. Well, you can also hear slouching and disinterest over the phone.

When thinking about the way you establish contact with your customers, you should consider how you usually go about introducing yourself to create a good impression of your organisation. Ask yourself:

• What impression do you want to make?
• How will you make this impression?
• What organisational image do you want to convey?
• How will you convey this?
• Are there any organisational policies and/or procedures, or codes of conduct about how to communicate with clients? If so, review these.
• What is important to say to the client?
• What information do you give them about yourself?
• What information do you ask of them?

Policies are general guides to decision-making. They provide guidelines that you can confidently follow without the need to refer to higher levels of authority. As policies are guidelines rather than rules, they should provide broad constraints, scope for decision-making, and include sufficient flexibility of action to suit different individual situations. They do not provide specific details or steps.

Procedures, on the other hand, are more specific statements. They describe how things should be done, step-by-step and are fixed (not flexible). Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are the procedures that relate to the specific tasks that you do—for instance, to the specifics of how to handle queue calls or to logging on/ logging off the organisation’s systems (computer and telephone). You need to have a clear understanding of any SOPs relating to your role and tasks.

Both policies and procedures convey to employees and to other stakeholders the organisation’s interests—their vision, mission, goals and the methods they intend to use to achieve those goals. They give you information about your organisation’s expectations and the steps you should take to provide a consistently high level of service and meet customer needs.

Remember that you will be the face of your organisation to the customer. You want to be professional, but interested, welcoming, and helpful. You need them to listen to the questions asked, be able to articulate or re-state their point of view, and ask questions that are concise and appropriate. It is important that they sound good.

When you think about the sales process, it takes real skill to find the right product and match it to the need (often unstated) of the potential customer. Finding the right inherent or ‘in-the-blood’ skills is a challenge and describing exactly what those skills are, is an even greater one.

Listening

The four purposes of listening are:

1. To gain work related information that can be used at a later date

2. To function effectively in an interpersonal relationship

3. To help gather data for decision making

4. To respond appropriately.

Listening can take place in virtually any kind of environment from a quiet office to a noisy street corner.

Some people, regardless of their efforts, always seem to have trouble listening. Others have no problems at all. What accounts for the difference? There are seven key areas, where you should examine yourself, to determine whether or not you have strengths and weaknesses with regards to listening habits.

• Deciding in Advance That the Subject is Uninteresting

Those with strong listening skills may find the subject boring, but decide to accept the challenge by making the most of the situation. Instead of finding alternative activities, they focus on the speaker’s message, and determine how to get something from the communication.

• Focusing Only on the Facts

Strong listeners look for the main ideas, the theme that keeps coming back, again and again and again in the speaker’s message. Without it, the isolated facts do not make any sense. Once the sense of the message is found, the facts will be remembered as logical supporting evidence.

• A Tendency to Outline Everything

A strong point is to be able to just sit back, and listen to the entire message being presented, then write down the main points. This is the approach most listening experts agree works best.

• Pretending to Pay Attention

Listening is hard work. It is not a passive encounter – it requires energy and attention. The strong listener not only hears effectively but observes the nonverbal signals of the speaker, all of which adds up to a real understanding of what is being said.

• Allowing Distractions to Interfere

Effective listeners try to control their environment by screening out distractions. They choose a quiet place to listen, and may ask someone to talk louder or softer, or give non-verbal cues for ‘louder please’.

• Responding Emotionally to Certain Words or Phrases

Strong listeners examine those words and phrases that tend to have an emotional impact on them. By doing so they become more adept at controlling their own emotions. Awareness of this problem helps the good listener conquer this weakness.

• Daydreaming Because of the Difference Between Speech Speed and Thought Speed

Effective listeners also find something to fill in the extra time but they remain tuned in to the speaker, and spend the extra thoughts on material related to the talk. They may make mental summaries of the key points, think of questions to clarify, or try to read between the lines.

Responding

Responding to what you are hearing is an important aspect of the listening process. In this section we will examine open questioning, what it means, and how it is used, as well as how to provide effective feedback on what you are listening to. Then we will attempt to apply these concepts to listening contexts.

We use questions every day. Most of our daily conversation involves either asking or answering questions. Sometimes, though, our questioning can seem a little weak compared to others who can almost instinctively ‘drill down’ to the information they are looking for.

To begin identifying the different question types, let’s look at closed questions.

A closed question can be recognised easily because it starts with words or phrases like:

Do … Is … Can … Could … Will … Would … Shall … Should …

These sort of questions allow the listener to answer with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. You do not actually gain any useful information. If you needed to ask a colleague some questions to establish something, would you use a closed question to gain further information or find out how someone is feeling? You would probably use a stronger questioning technique, the open-ended question.

Open-ended questions are designed to give information. They start with words such as:

How … Why … When … Where … What … Who … Which …

 

When listening, and providing responses to what you have heard, open-ended questions are particularly useful for gaining more information from the speaker, or clarifying exactly what they are trying to say. Use open-ended questioning over closed questions as much as possible.

Feedback

A natural extension of effective listening is feedback. Feedback is how we know whether our messages have been received in the way we intended. In all contexts, the reception of messages is very important. We have the responsibility of attaching meaning to the messages we receive, and sending feedback every time we are receivers in a communications situation.
Paraphrasing is used to re-state what has been heard. The message is repeated back using the words of the listener. This is used to ensure that the understanding of the message is mutual – everyone clearly understands what is required.

Another useful tool is to summarise. The main points are briefly stated and agreed or corrected. Using either or both will provide greater confidence in making recommendations.

How could you find out an organisation’s expectations regarding the recommendation of products/services?

• read organisation policy and procedure manuals, including SOPs

• discuss the expectations with your colleagues and supervisor

• research industry regulations and standards

Present Relevant Features of Products and Services as Benefits to Stakeholder

Remember a feature is an objective and observable characteristic of your product or service. Features remain unchanged whether the customer buys or not. An advantage is what the feature does, the service that it performs.

A feature can be described as something that the product does or is. In other words, it is a fact, quality or function of the product.

A benefit is described as an advantage or a type of assistance that a feature provides a customer with. They are often intangible or measurable characteristics of a product, service or option.

A benefit is the payoff of the advantage, or the value it provides to this individual customer. Think of benefits as the value of the advantage to the individual customer.

Because the same features will offer different benefits to different customers, the target should cover only selected features that offer a clear advantage. You know what that is through your earlier questioning.

Learn to resist the temptation to ‘pitch’ your product or service until you have laid a solid foundation by:

• Building a high trust and high credibility relationship with the customer
• Engaging in sufficient dialogue with the customer to understand their situation, needs, and priorities
• Thoroughly validating that the proposition holds water in the customer’s specific environment
• Building a compelling case for their solution.

Effective client representatives know the details of their products, how they work and when best to use them. By having knowledge of the features, and an understanding of the benefits of the product, the client representative can explain how their product is different from those being offered by their competitors. That knowledge and understanding is essential to translate the information so it can be described to the customer in a way that helps them understand how and why they will benefit from your product.

Understanding your product’s features and benefits allows you to accurately describe your product to your customers, explain how your product is different from that of your competitors and that because of the business to business relationship you are in a position to offer this to your customers.

Customers buy benefits. They are the customer’s needs that are satisfied by these features. They are less tangible, as they are defined in the customer’s minds as they focus on what the product does for them. They are the rewards that the customer perceives that they will gain from the purchase of the product.

Once you understand the stated and unstated needs of the customer, you are in a position to make recommendations. This is done through matching the needs of the customer to the matching features of the product or service.

And this is where your previous research and product knowledge will make all your learning worthwhile.

 

“Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have” – Zig Ziglar

 

Present Benefits of Products and Services Within Context of Organisational Requirements and Legislation

Feature-Function-Benefit (FFB) selling presentations are effective because they work. A professional sales training program will include this important technique in some form or another. Here is a simple way to make FFB an integral part of every sales effort and benefit from it. Let’s start by defining each of the terms again:

• Feature

This is the ‘what is it’ part of FFB. Every product or service has unique features that separate it from the competition. If the feature is common to other products, the way it is presented will help separate you from your competitor.

• Function

What does it do? During your presentation, this part of FFB gives your customer the opportunity to see how it works. It goes without saying that proficient product knowledge is a must.

• Benefit

Why should your customer have it? Here is where you solve a problem, fill a need, and re-enforce why your product or service is the right one.

Suppose you sell cars. In today’s world most of them have anti-lock brakes as either standard or optional equipment. Now, you are showing your customer the vehicle. You can either say:

“This car has anti-lock brakes” or you can use FFB to your advantage and say:

“This vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes (feature). In the event of an emergency braking situation you fully depress the brake pedal to the floor (function). The anti-lock brake system is designed to  bring you to a complete and straight stop without allowing the wheels to skid. This prevents loss of control and avoids sliding off the highway or into oncoming traffic (benefit).

The final and most critical step is to always end your FFB presentation with a tie-down or evidence statement.

“I think you’ll agree that is an important safety feature.”

Those experienced in sales will tell you that it is not about the product, it is all about selling the benefits. You do not move onto the benefits until you have spoken of the feature. Another example would be:

The salesperson tells you that a car you are thinking about buying has a rear view camera that engages when the car is put in reverse (feature). The image of what’s behind you is viewed on the dashboard (function). You don’t have to twist around to look out your rear window (benefit). So you have an important safety feature that allows you to back up with confidence (benefit).

Describing the feature and then moving to the benefits allows you to ‘connect the dots’ for your customer. When you ‘connect the dots’ for your customer they are focused on the benefits delivered by the feature. That’s reputed to be the best way to sell anything.

However, when ‘cold calling’ over the phone, customers are not going to give you an appointment so you can tell them about your new product or features. They want to know what’s in it for them so lead with benefits and not with features.

Should the description include its safety features?

You have a legal and ethical requirement to provide the correct information to customers. Penalties, under consumer legislation, apply to the conveyance of incorrect or incomplete information. Some products will have particular safety features that should be communicated to customers. Others might require care in using or operating the product. All safety aspects of products must be clearly explained to customers, along with instructions on safe handling and application of the product or product use.

It is important to be able to provide the customer with product safety knowledge as:

• you will appear unprofessional and incompetent if you do not know what you sell

• if you mislead a customer by providing inaccurate information—knowingly or even unknowingly—you might be subject to an ACCC investigation and/or litigation

You must be able to discuss with customers relevant safety considerations. If you give incorrect advice or fail to give any advice/ warnings at all then you might be deemed legally liable or negligent if an accident with the product occurs.

If you are uncertain of products’ safety, check the specifications of the product against the Australian Standards (via store held information, the internet or the ACCC) and report the matter to your manager or supervisor.

Organisational Requirements

Your organisation may have a program in place for how they require the contact to be conducted. This will be contained in the policies and procedures, which are formally documented and available for reference in the workplace and would have been covered during the induction session. There may even be follow-up sessions. Some of the procedures may include the level of client service required in terms of frequency, method of contact, information supplied at different stages.

It is your responsibility to follow the organisational procedures precisely every time. Obtain copies of the requirements if they exist and keep them to hand to ensure that you do not depart from organisational procedure.

Legislation

Legislation is the act of making or enacting laws. When people talk about ‘the legislation’, they mean a law or a body of laws. The legislation in a State or Territory are all the laws enacted specifically to control and administer the State or Territory.

The principal objective of trade and consumer protection law is to provide for an equitable, competitive, informed and safe marketplace. This means that organisations and the people who work for them must be committed to working responsibly and ethically within the legal and regulatory environment.

 

 

The legislation that relates to contact centres includes:

• Anti-Discrimination The Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 addresses discrimination issues related to:
• Sex
• Race, colour, nationality, ethnic, or ethno-religious background
• Physical or intellectual or psychiatric disability, or any organism capable of causing disease
• Homosexuality (male or female, actual or presumed)

Racial discrimination, harassment, and defamation are all unlawful. People may not be treated unfairly because of their nationality, descent, race, religion, or colour. Any behaviour that is unwelcome and puts someone down, embarrasses them relating to any of the things listed earlier.

Anyone who believes they have been subjected to racial discrimination, harassment, or vilification have the option to seek assistance from the relevant Anti-Discrimination Board and/or the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner who will advise them of their rights under the legislation.

Federal, State, and Territory laws: The laws protecting individuals from being treated unfairly because of their race, colour, nationality, descent, ethnicity, or ethno-religious background are the Federal Racial Discrimination Act (1975), and the Racial Hatred Act (1995). Each State and Territory has specific legislation cover in this area.

• Consumer Protection and Contract Law Legislation

Contract law encompasses any laws or Regulations directed toward enforcing certain promises. In Australia, contract law is primarily regulated by the ‘common law’, but increasingly statutes are supplementing the common law of contract – particularly in relation to consumer protection.

Consumer protection legislation, which in some cases implies terms into consumer contracts and in others might provide remedies for ‘unconscionable contracts’, or provide mechanisms for avoiding ‘unfair terms’.

• Australian Consumer Law                                                           http://www.consumerlaw.gov.au

From 1 January 2011, Australian businesses – wherever trading in Australia – operate under a single, national consumer law: the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The ACL will replace different national, State, and Territory laws that set out consumer rights and business obligations when selling goods and services with a single, national set of rules.

The ACL is a national consumer law which is to apply to all business sectors. It covers general standards of business conduct, prohibits harmful practices, regulates specific types of business-to-consumer transactions, provides basic consumer rights for goods and services, and regulates the safety of consumer products and product-related services.

Contract law encompasses any laws or Regulations directed toward enforcing certain promises. In Australia, contract law is primarily regulated by the ‘common law’, but increasingly statutes are supplementing the common law of contract – particularly in relation to consumer protection.

Consumer protection legislation, which in some cases, implies terms into consumer contracts and in others might provide remedies for ‘unconscionable contracts’, or provide mechanisms for avoiding ‘unfair terms’.

While speaking to customers and dealing with customer information you need to remember you are governed by legal obligations. The information you convey to customers about the product or service you offer must be truthful, accurate, current and reliable.

Product and service sales are subject to various legislative and regulatory controls. Some of this legislation applies to the promotion, marketing and sale of products/ services, while other legislation applies to customer interaction and to the safety and quality of products.

There are laws, regulations, codes and standards that you must follow during each transaction with a customer. These have been developed to protect you, the organisation as a whole and the customers.

You have specific legislative obligations that apply to consumer protection, sale of goods and call center operations.

Relevant legislation includes:

• discrimination

• human rights

• equal opportunity

• telecommunications

• collecting for charity

• competition

• pricing

• privacy

• provision of credit

• health and safety

• consumer protection

There are also standards and legislative requirements that employees need to adhere to when processing credit applications.

The objective of competition and consumer protection legislation is to enhance the welfare of Australians by promoting competition and fair trading and providing for consumer protection.

They are intended to:

• encourage businesses to respond to feedback from customers, suppliers and team members

• recognise opportunities to ensure continuous improvement

• communicate openly and honestly about products and services with customers, suppliers and team members

• communicate in plain language to ensure information is clear, accurate and easily understood

• provide an efficient, fair and accessible complaint handling process in accordance with the Australian Standards

• comply with privacy legislation

• comply with the anti-discrimination and anti-harassment zero tolerance rulings

• have an honest refunds and replacements service

• ensure health and safety standards are followed

• comply with safety and Australian quality standards honour warranties

The principal objective of trade and consumer protection law is to provide for an equitable, competitive, informed and safe marketplace. This means that organisations and the people who work for them must be committed to working responsibly and ethically within the legal and regulatory environment.

The principal objective of trade and consumer protection law is to provide for an equitable, competitive, informed and safe marketplace. This means that organisations and the people who work for them must be committed to working responsibly and ethically within the legal and regulatory environment.

False or misleading representations

Specific laws are in place to ensure a person shall not, in trade or commerce, in connection with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or in connection with the promotion, supply or use of goods or services falsely represent:

• that goods are of a particular standard, quality, value, grade, composition, style or model or have had a particular history or particular previous use

• that services are of a particular standard, quality, value or grade

• that goods are new

• that a particular person has agreed to acquire goods or services

• that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, uses or benefits they do not have

• that the person has a sponsorship, approval or affiliation the person does not have

• the price of goods or services

• the availability of facilities for the repair of goods or of spare parts for goods

• the place of origin of goods

• the need for any goods or services

• the existence, exclusion or effect of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy

It is your responsibility to know your obligations under legislation and the consequences, both for your enterprise, and for yourself, of non-compliance. You need to be aware of the responsibilities you are professionally and legally accountable for and conduct your work practices within these parameters. A statutory requirement is binding and you must do (or not do) what is stated in legislation or you are liable to be punished by law.

Ethical Principles

There is no current Federal legislation specifically targeting ethical behaviour. Queensland does have the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994.

To behave ethically means to be moral and right in our conduct. That includes adhering with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice. Ethical principles are guidelines based on morality that determines the lengths or boundaries a person or business sets for itself.

Ethical principles are the positions from which guidance can be obtained when making a decision and are important to behave morally, fairly, and equitably.

You also have a social and ethical responsibility to deal honestly and fairly with customers. You cannot mislead customers and/or provide misleading information. This means that you have a responsibility to check the information you are passing on to customers to ensure that it is true and correct. You should not pressure or harass customers and you should not offer credit or set up account facilities that do not meet the customer’s needs. Your organisation’s reputation is dependent on the service offered by customer service representatives who must be seen to interact with customers ethically and responsibly.

They relate to the privacy laws in this context.

• Privacy laws                                                                             http://www.privacy.gov.au/law/act

Regulates the type of information which may be collected and how this information may be used and stored, and ensures information is not misused or abused.

Organisations must not involve unnecessary intrusion on an individual’s privacy. They must take reasonable steps to maintain data quality and consider the following when using information about others.

There are some things that an organisation can do to make it easier to comply. Firstly, transacting anonymously with individuals where it is lawful and practicable to do so, can reduce the amount of personal information that is collected. Secondly, limiting the collection of personal information to the minimum necessary to complete a transaction. Thirdly, making it as easy as possible for individuals to access and correct their own information.

 

Key Points

• Identify features of products and services that have the most potential buyer or user appeal

• Present relevant features of products and services before the benefits to the stakeholder, unless ‘cold calling’

• Always present benefits of the products and services within the context of organisational requirements and legislation.