6 Ways To Build Up Goodwill With Customers

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

11 May, 2011

Salesmen shaking handsThe British Department Store, John Lewis, is renowned for its quality customer service. Here’s what one of their managers said:

“If we rely on value alone, we’ll get considerable success. Then if we add constant and careful cultivation of the other arts of maintaining and building upgoodwill, we shall be vastly superior to our competition.”

Sounds good advice. And when you consider those words were said by the founder, John Lewis himself, in 1917, you realise that quality customer service and goodwill were part of the culture of the organisation nearly 100 years ago.

Quality in a product or service is not what you put into it, but what the customer gets out of it. National Express, a UK travel company, encourages passengers to text them about their experience while riding on their coaches. This enables the company to deal with the needs of customers instantaneously, and builds goodwill with the customer base quickly and easily.

But how do you actually build goodwill? Can it actually be built? Marketing author Dr Bill Nichols thinks it can.

Dr Nichols says that there are six levels you can go through to build goodwill with a customer. He starts with the base level,

1) Service Satisfaction. It goes without saying that unless the customer is satisfied with your back-up service, goodwill will be severly dented, if not destroyed.

2) Utility Satisfaction. That’s all-round satisfaction with the products, service and quality that is offered.

3) Brand Commitment. If they are committed to the brand, it’s natural that they will feel happy and contented when they buy from you.

4) Relationship Commitment. When a client is committed to the relationship, they are more likely to see you as a partner than as a supplier.

5) Fairness. This means the client feels they are getting a fair reward fo the long-term relationship with you.

6) Pleasure. This is the emotional connection they have with you and your company. If they feel contentment in the relationship, they are less likely to look elsewhere for price differentials and the like.

What struck me more was that these two last factors, along with relationship, brand and utility satisfaction, actually rank higher than service satisfaction in terms of building customer goodwill.

In other words, you don’t have to be the best at service delivery as your clients are looking for more than just a good service. Perhaps it is taken for granted when paying for a service that it will actually be delivered well and as promised? I think so.

Dr Nichols’ ideas help us to see how goodwill can be built through a series of levels. Think of ways that you can enable customers to feedback their feelings about your levels of service. Your clients are in the best position to tell you what they want in terms of product, service and back-up. Listen and learn!

Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person:

Happy Selling


Sean McPheat
The UK’s #1 Authority On Modern Day Selling

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