“If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”-BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
If you walk in to a company or even call up a representative of the company would you be impressed if they had complete product knowledge or if they seemed unsure of what their company’s products were? Surely the former and you probably would not return to a company where product knowledge seemed unimportant. Product knowledge is vital for business success and is essential if you wish to maintain a long standing association with your customers. In fact, product knowledge is vital most from a customer service point of view. It is well-known that when customers connect with a company, they expect that the person answering the phone would be able to respond to basic queries related to the company’s products and services. If the company’s representative lacks in product knowledge, how would they be able to convince the customer of the benefits and importance of these products and without such information the customer is unlikely to buy. Product knowledge is vital as it provides impetus and power to a company’s customer service and marketing and sales efforts. Are you able to conceive how anyone could sell or make a customer without being able to enlist the benefits and state how the product will meet the needs of the customer?
Product knowledge is vital as it enhances the customer’s experience with the company and it has been established that customer service and memorable experiences override every other aspect. This is because there are a growing number of companies and many of them would have similar products and pricing policies and the only way to beat competition is by maintaining superlative customer service standards. Product knowledge is vital as it displays confidence and assurance and instils faith in the customer that the company would be able to meet and exceed their expectations. Even the best of products and pricing would be worthless, if the company is unable to clearly and confidently state the benefits of their products and convince the customers to buy from them rather than shop around them.
To ensure that each member of the company understands that product knowledge is vital and how such knowledge would help the company, the product developers (mostly the senior leadership) must be able to define how the product fits in with the company’s values and culture. The information on the product must be available to everyone in the company and also must be displayed boldly on the company’s website and social media sites. Company brochures should also hold information on the product – explained clearly and simply for the customers to fully grasp the utility. Product knowledge is vital to customers too and hence when this information is relayed to them it must be free of industry and technical jargon. Rather, the data provided about the product must be able to answer the question- ‘what can this product do for me?’ every time. The customer service and sales staff will be able to add more value if they too have in-depth product knowledge and can answer all the questions a customer may have about the product.
Any customer will tell you and you would know from your experience as a customer too, that the best of products will fail to impress if the person they are speaking to in the company is unable to provide them with a personalized response of the efficacy of the product for them. Product knowledge is vital because it shows the customer that the company is paying attention to their needs and are making the effort to gain their business rather than taking it for granted. Product knowledge is vital since it translates to a thorough understanding of what the company has to offer in conjunction with what the customer needs and means that your company’s representatives will be better placed to offer unique, customized and more impressionable service – something that customers always expect and are delighted when they receive such service.
In many companies it is imperative for the customer facing representatives to be thoroughly trained about the products and services of the company before they begin their actual job. Product knowledge is vital since it not only enables the employees to understand the products but also increases their awareness of which product to offer to a certain customer – the one that would be best suited to their needs, thereby ensuring a sale and repeat business. Many times customers are unaware of what would be best suited to their needs, product knowledge is vital in this respect too – the company’s representatives can, with their thorough knowledge, recommend the best options for their customers. This instils a feeling of trust as such valuable suggestions enables the customers to believe that the company has their best interest in mind and will only offer the best and most appropriate. It would also be simpler for the company’s representatives to put together a suitable package or offer to best serve the customer’s needs. This knowledge amounts to value added service which is extremely important for a business to gain a customer’s approval.
Product knowledge is vital also from the perspective of being able to enlist the benefits and advantages of the products for the customer rather than simply ‘rattling off’ the features. The features of the product can be easily read by the customer but in order to know how those features will add value to them and their business, they must also realize the advantages. A company’s representative, who has thorough knowledge of the product, would be best suited to enlist these benefits from the customer’s perspective. Each customer would be interested in how the product would make their business run better, or add value to them from a looks or personality perspective – they would not be interested in the ‘umbrella’ benefits that a product may have.
Gaining product knowledge is vital and it is the responsibility of each employee to read up on the information provided through the product brochures, understand the company’s customer’s point of view by reading the feedback provided and other industry sources that comment on available products. It is important especially for the customer facing employees to continually build on their knowledge and always have updated information readily available with them. Customers tend to trust and will be more amenable to listen to a company representative who would have the product information on ‘their finger tips’ rather than someone who appears unconvinced and unsure. It is human nature – right?
The truth is that not everything can be great about a product or service and with thorough product knowledge the representatives would be able to honestly provide the pros and cons of the product. No misleading information and complete truths help build customer confidence and ultimately keep them with a company.
A customer facing representative could have the best communication skills, but without product knowledge, whatever they say would just be words that would hold no meaning for the customer. Thorough and robust knowledge of the product would enable the representative to also enhance the way they communicate with customers and as they are able to convince the customers, it also enhances their confidence and boosts their morale and enthusiasm. Energetic and upbeat representatives always prove to be an asset for any company.
Product knowledge is vital but it also takes time for anyone to be fluent and easily articulate their knowledge. The knowledge is never complete since products change from time to time and hence being consistently up to date with the changes is also essential. With time and relentless effort, any customer facing company representative will soon learn the products and services and exude confidence and contribute to the revenue.