Competition is fierce no matter what business you are operating. The next best thing just started their business yesterday and another will do the same tomorrow. After years in sales and marketing, the one thing that has always set me apart from the rest was my ability to provide excellent service to all my clients/customers no matter how small or big of a client they were. Time after time, that singular effort stood between winning the business or keeping the client even when competition was swarming everywhere.
How can exceptional service keep your current clients/customers coming back to work with you? Look at the society we currently live in. Everything is a ‘microwave’ happening. ATMs, self-checkout at grocery stores, mobile app ordering for your favorite fast food place – all to get everything done quicker and faster. However, when you take the time to slow down, you get a chance to smell the roses. Instead of the drive-thru at Starbucks, go in and get the coffee. You will be greeted with a smile and in many times over delivery of a simple cup of coffee. And if you go there enough, they know your name! You see a Starbucks on almost every corner because they provide exceptional customer service and that’s why many people – including me – pay the extra money and take the time to stop by daily.
Another way you can provide service excellence is to over-deliver on what you promised. I recently had to take my vehicle to the dealership for service. When I got back into my car, the service engine light was still on inside of the car. I spoke with my service advisor and he promised to take care of it the following week and would also provide me with a rental at no charge. When I returned the next day to pick up my vehicle, the windows wouldn’t roll down in my car. My service advisor profusely apologized and asked me to give him another day to fix it. I was able to keep the rental and he fixed the issue at no additional charge to me. That equated to over $1,000 worth of work! My service advisor and I are now best friends because of his effort to make sure I was happy despite the inconvenience. Because of their effort to over deliver after their mishap, I will make sure they have my business for life.
What happens when you can’t deliver on your promise? How you handle this can mean the difference between keeping and losing a client/customer. I have found that using this simple formula:
- Own It – Let your client/customer know what has taken place and you were not able to meet their expectations
- Fix It – Offer to handle what you can to make sure the client/customer gets as close as to what they need or expected
- Release It – Under Delivering isn’t in your DNA so release the mishap and move forward. Wallowing in what went wrong won’t benefit your client/customer or you. Forgive yourself!
Long standing businesses are still standing because they realize that clients/customers are their lifeblood. Taking care of your lifeblood is essential as growing your business as it’s always easier to keep old clients happy than to generate new clients. Providing exceptional service delivery will help you rise above the crowd and set you on the path to success.