Preparing for A Price Increase to Your Customers
There is a lot that goes into implementing a price increase to your customer base. Operations, sales, accounting and many others need to coordinate what will happen and when. Customer service needs to brace for an influx of customer calls by adding additional staffing, some of whom may be temps or support staff within the office. Unfortunately, some leaders simply settle on a vague directive to the team that they should try to keep as much of the P.I. as possible. They leave the details of what will be said and done to the person taking the call. It has been my observation that sales people talk too much and give up too much and that customer service representatives get nervous and go right into rolling back the price completely. Here is an example of a conversation I witnessed during a customer’s price increase.
Customer: I noticed there is an increase on my invoice. Can you explain that to me?
Representative: Sure- I see you did get an increase and that you have been our customer for a long time. I can actually roll that price back to what you were paying before. Is that okay?
Customer: I am happy to have you do that, but I was only calling to verify what the increase was about and to adjust our purchase order. I wouldn’t have argued about it because I haven’t had an increase from you and you do a good job for us.
To prevent this catastrophe from happening at your organization you need your team to be prepared. Remember that for most customers price is A factor in decision-making but it isn’t necessarily THE factor. Helpful and knowledgeable representatives partnered with dependable product or service makes price a detail to discuss versus an obstacle to overcome.
Here is your P.I. preparation check list.
Scripts– Let Tooty create some effective and concise scripting for those who answer your calls. Often times sales leaders provide talking points, and too many of them, which don’t translate properly in a conversation.
Training– Both sales and customer service representatives need to practice how they will handle these conversations. The practice will boost confidence and your ability to maintain your increase. Tooty offers customized classroom training and interactive webinars. We also recommend that the training is scheduled within a week of when the invoices with the increase will hit the streets. The timing of the role-play practice needs to be as close to the expected time for customer phone calls as possible.
Strategy for new customers– You may have competitors who are also increasing their rates and their customers are calling you to compare prices. Be prepared to win those prospects.
Celebration– Share your goal not only with sales, but customer service. What will you do to celebrate your team’s success?