Consumers are armed with more information today than ever before. They can now easily research products, people and the experiences of others. This has turned selling upside down. Rather than telling the customer what he or she needs, the customer is often telling the salesperson what they need – or they’re solving their own needs online. Customers have also become very vocal nowadays, whether it is direct feedback face-to-face or a very public review.

darren-nolander-experience-mattersWith so many options available, the customer experience has become the key point of differentiation for many businesses. An experience is made up of all the touchpoints a customer will encounter through the buying journey and post-sale. The key to a strong customer experience is ensuring that every interaction is positive, consistent and authentic. None of these elements require a substantial budget. In fact, they shouldn’t.

Here are three strategies that won’t cost you a dime, but have a potentially high payout for your mental and emotional investments.

1. Be a Good Listener

The value of remaining silent, internalizing what someone is saying (whether said or read) and taking a moment to empathetically place yourself in that person’s shoes cannot be overstated.

We all want to be heard. Make sure you’re providing this most basic of services for your clients and not pushing your own agenda at all costs.

2. Don’t Ignore Negative Reviews

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we know we have, other times we’re caught off guard that the other party had a less than stellar experience with us. In either case, it needs to be addressed.

Refer back to Tip One and start by putting your listening cap on. Do your best to hear the complaint from their perspective, while refraining from the knee-jerk defensive stance. Once you feel you have an accurate assessment of the situation, reach out. I’d say the more personal, the better. Start with a phone call (or their specified preferred method of communication) and offer to clear the air. Address the complaint online as well. Be sure to add these reviews to your CRM. You should be especially cognizant of repetitive negative assessments – a glaring red flag that you’ve got some work to do.

3. Send Your Thanks

An email or snail mail note can be great, but a personalized video message goes a step further. These videos are brief but impactful. They simply thank the client for their business, reference one or two personal items you may have previously discussed, emphasize you’re looking forward to working together in the future and that your door is always open whenever they’d like to contact you.

That’s it. About 30 seconds should do it. That half a minute can leave a lasting impression well after the moment has passed.

These easy strategies build loyalty, and we all know that loyal customers are more valuable than any marketing strategy we can deploy. Thanks to the internet, there will always be someone cheaper, faster or closer by. While we always want to remain competitive on these points, the truly great loan officers will set themselves apart by the level of service and attention to detail they bring to their clients.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

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