I recently signed a contract with a merchant bank so that I could start accepting credit cards for my business. This is obviously an advantage for those clients of mine that want the ease of paying by credit card or if I start to sell products. But that is not the point of my story. The point is that in dealing with the saleswoman at the merchant bank, I was made to feel like a commodity, not a customer. After our initial conversation about setting up an account, I was curious to learn more about all of the fees and how the transactions work, whether or not I needed a terminal, etc. I was learning about this for the first time and was supposedly talking to an expert. I received some information that helped educate me, but most of what I got was phone calls asking if I had made my decision to sign up. I am talking about phone calls 2-3 times per week. I would get a call on Monday saying that she was following up from her voicemail ON FRIDAY! What has this world become that I cannot have 2-3 days to think things over before closing the deal. Then I got the classic line "we need to know what is happening because THEY are asking me about the file." I asked who "they" were and that I would be happy to talk with "they" to tell them that I am a customer trying to make a smart decision. I was summarily dismissed.
I did eventually open an account after a few more phone calls and have of course never heard from this woman again. The deal is signed so she no longer has a need for me. It is unfortunate that many people think this same way, about the sale and not about the ongoing relationship. When you deal with customers, make sure you make them feel special and that they are more than just a commission. This will help with customer loyalty and referrals, which is the foundation of anyone's business, so we might as well get really good at it.
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