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When I wanted to write about this topic, I remembered a radio program that I had listened to on Kpoko FM on October 3, 2017 when the on air personality announced the presence of Mr. Harrysong in the studio. I immediately thought the presenter wanted to interview him on his recently released single titled “Arabanko”. But I was shocked when Mr. Harrysong started by apologizing profusely to his fans for an unenthusiastic incident that occurred few days earlier. I had to leave what I was doing to listen to him because I was taken aback by his level of humility. I know most Nigerian music artistes are very arrogant, so, it was nice to see one of them that is being modest.
He continued by narrating his ordeals on his way from Port Harcourt to Warri where he was supposed to perform at an event. According to him, they initially had a flat tyre and when they fixed the flat tyre. They continued the journey only to be faced with armed robbers operating along the Port Harcourt to Warri route which further delayed their journey. He was able to reach out to the organizers of the event to notify them of the challenges he and crew were facing. He eventually got to the venue of the event late. But he was surprised to meet some of his fans who patiently waiting for him to arrive because they were worried of his safety. After narrating what actually happened, he began to apologize copiously again. He further announced that he was not leaving Warri immediately but that he would stay behind till Friday being October 6, 2017 (today) to perform and make up for his inability to show up on time for the earlier scheduled show.
At a point during the interview, his fans started calling in and they were all eulogizing him for his humility and empathizing with him. Mr. Harrysong may not consider himself a salesperson, but he deplored what I call Rock Star Selling skills in handling the unpalatable experience of his fans (customers) and turning them into charmed fans.
Let us now examine some lessons that those of us in the selling profession can take away from the Mr. Harrysong’s story.
- He made his fans (customers) to feel heard.
No individual or business is perfect and as result we may fail to deliver on promises made to prospects or customers for reasons beyond our control. When such happen, we should not wait for the dissatisfied customers to complain before we reach out to them. By so doing, you will make them to feel special and make them believe that you always have their best interest at heart. This is very important because if you must thrive in your selling efforts, you must ensure that customers do not lose trust in your business and in you. You must therefore do everything within your power to retain their trust and confidence in you.
- He did all he could to placate his disappointed fans (Customers).
Although customers will be angry with you when you fail to deliver on agreed promises. It is however the actions you take to reduce their pain and retain their confidence in your business and in you that would make all the difference. They won’t really be interested in knowing whether it was your fault or not. All they would be interested in; is what you are doing to correct the situation. You can actually differentiate yourself from your competitors by the way you correct any failure in service deliver. If you get this process right, you will be able to convert disappointed customers into happy customers. Such customers will return for repeat purchases because they know that you will always fix any problem that may arise.
- He did damage control and protected his brand from negative word of mouth.
It is a common knowledge that bad news sells faster and bigger than good news. And in this age of the social media, one unhappy customer can destroy all the selling reputation that you have built over many years. All they need do is to share their complaints about your brand online and before you would realize what is happening, such a negative complaint will go viral and contaminate the positive comments about your brand. Negative word of mouth is destructive; make sure you don’t allow it to destroy your selling efforts and business. That is why it is very important that you use your interactions with unhappy customers as an opportunity to turn them into happy customers. Failure to do so, will lead to your business receiving series of red flags on the social media.
- He exceeded his fans’ (customers’) expectations.
He did not only apologize gracefully, he also empathized with his fans and he went above and beyond their expectations by deciding to stay behind and do a make-up performance for his fans.
When you exceed the expectations of your customers while fixing a failure in service delivery, you actually generate lovely experience for them. Such lovely experience will motivate your disappointed customers to become dedicated advocates of your brand. They would spread positive word of mouth about your brand and help you attract more new sales while you also receive their repeat purchases.
- He built a positive reputation.
I am very sure that a lot of Harrysong’s fans didn’t really know prior to his going on air how much he loved and cared about them. He displayed his humane side and was able to turn unhappy fans into captivated fans. And from the enthusiasm that was displayed by his fans who called in during the interview, it was very clear that they fell in love with him the more. This therefore means that when disappointed customers receive special treatment, they tend to forget what had happened and focus more on the special treatment they received.
On a final note, it is usually said in African parlance that “the best time to prepare for the rain is before it starts raining”. As long as you remain in business irrespective of the type of business, you are going to have disappointed customers. When it happens, remain that you can benchmark the Harrysong’s model of converting disappointed customers into stanch and loyal customers and who would spread positive word of mouth about your business and you. Now is the time to put such a system in place if you don’t have one yet.
Until I come your way again, always remember that “your selling efforts will produce more sales revenue when they are focused on solving customers’ problems and improving their situations”