My effort to make the sale is validated when the customer chooses to do business with me. Then it is just as important, if not more so, for me to validate my customer’s choice to do business with me through what happens after the sale.
I’ve been thinking about the concept of validation for a while. This is where the customers validate your efforts in persuading them to do business with you. Sometimes the pursuit of the customer may include meetings, proposals and various other tasks. Gaining validation with a customer this way may take a year or longer. However, in some cases it happens much faster. For example, in a retail store, it may be what’s in the window that captures a new customer’s eye. Then a friendly sales person helps the customer and within minutes the sale is made, making the sale happen almost instantly. Now while this may seem more like a sales concept, stay with me. It’s all about customer service and the customer experience.
The point is that the customer is making a decision based on all types of reasons that can include brand awareness and perception, interactions with people, marketing messages and more. Everything that happens leading up to that first sale is based on the customer’s experience. At some point the customer makes the decision to buy. This is called “making the sale.” We can also call it “validating the effort.”
Then what happens after the sale is the customer service and experience that makes the customer feel like he or she made the right choice, which we can call, “validating the choice.”
The point is that the customer experience, which includes customer service, begins long before the sale is made.
Perhaps an overly simplistic way to describe this concept is that it’s like a marriage. Two people go out on the first date. If all goes well, it leads to a second date. Then a third, and so on. Then one day before you know it, there’s a marriage proposal. Everything up until that proposal was part of the courting stage. When the person asking the other to marry him or her gets yes for an answer, it validates the relationship and the effort that was put into it – from on both sides, by the way. Then once the two get married, either one – hopefully both – would look back and say, “I made the right decision.”
It’s pretty much the same in business. That period before the sale is the courting stage. The sale is made and the customer will hopefully say the same thing, “I made the right decision.”
That’s validation. And, it’s all about the customer’s experience. So, what are you consistently doing to validate the choice that your customers have made to do business with you?
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright © MMXVI, Shep Hyken)