Don’t Let Accounting Kill Sales

Have you had an experience similar to this?  A few weeks ago I returned some items for which I had paid cash.  The person at the return desk scanned my receipt, got out the correct amount for the refund, and then HAD ME SIGN FOR THE CASH.

Now, I’m sure there is some reason why a signature was required.  Perhaps it is a way to be sure an employee is not taking money as if there was a refund when there was not.  If that is the case there are certainly internal ways to test that and not involve the customer.  To me it was just a useless activity requiring more of my time.

Some Procedures Are Not in the Interest of Anyone

Is my experience above insignificant?  You bet.  Think about your own experiences in dealing with businesses.  Ever had to complete seemingly silly paperwork or answer questions that seem to scream, “We don’t trust you so we are making you go through this ridiculous process to discourage you from doing this.”?

During years in the accounting, finance, and operations arenas I have come to realize that many policies did very little to improve internal controls but a lot to aggravate customers.   These procedures can negatively impact interaction with customers.  Routine things such as returns, shipping, restocking fees, late charges, and check approvals are often where customer service breaks down.  Ever felt as if a company’s procedures were designed more to frustrate you as a customer than to serve you.

It’s a Balancing Act

Good policies and procedures that support strong internal controls are essential, yet business owners must be sensitive to the fact that without customers there is no business.  We are in business to satisfy customers’ needs and wants.  We should keep that at the forefront of our thoughts as we design our operations.

We have all heard the saying, “The customer is always right.”  We all know that is not totally true.  However, if we are customer-centric we will put ourselves in the customer’s shoes.  Then we are much more likely to design policies, procedure, and processes that allow a customer to leave an interaction with us believing and feeling they were treated as if they were right.

Whether a customer is reasonable or not, our practices need to be designed to move them toward a satisfactory resolution and leave them feeling respected and served..

Keep in mind three things as you interact with your customers or potential customers:

  1. It cost more time and money to obtain a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
  2. Losing a customer may cost more than just the sales they represent.  You may find they damage your business’s reputation through word of mouth, costing you existing and potential customers,
  3. A satisfied, happy customer may well be the best and least expensive advertising and promotion you ever get.

What are your experiences?  Do you need to examine you policies and procedure to see if they are negatively impacting customer relations?

Should you like to know more, contact us at: AimCFO-Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.

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