Andy’s one of the “new guys” in my leads group so he and I met up in a one-to-one last week. About a year ago, he left his corporate job to start his own company and now he’s serving as the IT department for companies that aren’t big enough to have someone full-time in-house.
I asked why his clients like working with him and to his great credit, he did NOT say, because we provide excellent service. (If you’ve been a long-time Rabbit Rouser reader, you know that response is way too overused, means nothing and completely sets me off. Ha Ha.) He said responsiveness. His newest client signed on with him because her previous vendor wouldn’t respond to requests for days. In contrast, he’s been getting back to this client’s employee’s requests within hours. Even if he can’t fix it right away, he at least lets them know he’s aware and on top of it. Not surprisingly, they are thrilled with him.
In fact, Andy told me one of the criticisms his boss had for him in corporate was that he set client expectations too high. Perfect! Now he’s just set the bar higher and made it more difficult for anyone else who comes along thinking they can poach his clients.
Acknowledgement and attention will win you fans every time. Sure, auto-responder generated emails make it easy for requests to be acknowledged, but everyone knows those aren’t personal responses. Technology is great, to a point. Even in the tech industry, people want personal. Clients want to know their issues are worthy of your attention and you will be providing them the service they want and need, hopefully soon!
Even in today’s mostly service-based economy, many clients feel the need for touch. (Get your mind out of the gutter, you.) I mean, they like the idea of personal communication and seeing something physical. This is why face to face meetings are still important, and why sending thank you notes written on paper or gifts that come in boxes make such a huge impression.
Don’t be afraid to set the bar high and make that mark the new standard in your industry or community. Making the new rules means stronger client relationships, happier customers and better client retention. The only ones who won’t look good are the competitors who can’t keep up.