"A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all." - Michael LeBoeuf
Keeping your customers happy and satisfied will go a long way to sustaining a thriving business. In fact, 85% of small businesses get customers through word of mouth. Knowing everything you can about your customers - their goals, desires, fears, and motivations is critically important.
Is there a common goal or desire that every customer has? I believe the answer is "yes". Outside of seeking the specific product or service you offer, every client really wants the same thing. It doesn't matter what business you are in, all clients want the following whether they acknowledge it or not.
What Clients Really Want
1. Clients want you to make their life easier.
This statement is extremely simple, but that doesn't discount its importance. Let me tell you a story to illustrate my point.
Several months ago I was in the market for a whole house humidifier. I had put in a new furnace recently and the first company I reached out to was the HVAC company I had worked with before. They were competitively priced and had done a great job, so I scheduled an appointment to have them come out.
When they came out to quote the job, I was pleased to see the same salesman I had dealt with before. As expected he was very thorough and gave me a timely, detailed quote on the scope of work. He explained that the humidifier would need a new electrical circuit and they did not do this type of work. He gave me two referrals for electricians that could complete the necessary work prior to the humidifier installation. He also told me exactly what the electrician would need to do. Even though I had been given specific instructions, I was still uneasy about communicating properly with the electrician to ensure he/she performed the proper work.
The next day I placed calls to the two referrals he provided and had to leave messages with both. Three days later I had not received a call back from either one of them. Wonderful. Now I had to call more electricians...
Instead, I decided to get another quote from a different HVAC contractor. The salesman who came out was extremely helpful and confirmed the information I had already been given. The biggest difference between the two companies was small but significant. Although the second company did not provide electrical services either, they included the electrical cost as part of their bid and hired the electrical contractor as a sub on my job. I didn't have to worry about anything else to get this job completed.
I was extremely happy with the HVAC company that installed my furnace, but with the humidifier job they weren't making my life easier. It was actually harder because I had to do additional work and coordinate multiple contractors to get the job done. I chose the second company and everything went off without a hitch...they made things easy for me.
Can you ever recall having a similar experience? I'm sure you can.
"Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you." - Mark Cuban
What can you do to ensure you make it easier for clients?
- Eliminate Roadblocks
Do your clients have to jump over multiple hurdles when working with you? Some hurdles are necessary, but others aren't. Make sure the things you ask your clients to do while they work with you are absolutely necessary. If they aren't, eliminate them. This will help streamline your process and make things easier for your clients.
- Create a Consistent Onboarding Process
Do all of your new clients go through the same process? If not, it's time to create a consistent process everyone in your business follows to onboard a new client. This will ensure every client goes through the exact same steps and nothing is missed.
- Create a Consistent After the Sale Process
Do you follow up with all clients after the sale? You're missing out on an opportunity to keep them super happy if you aren't. Make sure every client gets the same follow up after the sale has been completed. It will let them know you care about more than just the sale. Consider my humidifier example from above, they could have a 4 part email sequence as follow up after the sale that looks something like this.
Email 1: 2 days after the sale, check in to make sure everything is going OK.
Email 2: 4 days after the sale, some helpful faq's about the service/product I just bought.
Email 3: 7 days after the sale, what to expect moving forward and the best ways to reach us.
Email 4: 10 days after the sale, a thank you with a request for a review/testimonial if they feel comfortable helping you.
- Make Contacting You Simple
Have you ever visited a website looking for contact information and found yourself searching multiple pages to discover a hidden "support" email? This drives me crazy! Anyone should easily be able to find multiple ways to contact you within seconds of being on your website. Making it difficult for clients to reach you is a cardinal sin in my opinion and makes their lives harder.
- Solve Problems Quickly
Clients don't expect you to be perfect, nobody is. What they do expect is for you to solve problems quickly when they arise. Leaving problems unresolved and lingering doesn't make things easy and creates more work for your clients.
- Communicate Consistently
We've all been out to eat and experienced a longer than normal wait for our food. There are two ways restaurants handle this. One, they leave you sitting there wondering what is going on. Two, the wait staff comes by and apologizes for the delay, explains the situation and lets you know when your food will be ready. Don't you prefer option two?
When clients are communicated with they are informed and knowledgeable about what to expect while working with you. Leaving clients in the dark does not make their lives easier. Instead, empower them with consistent communication.
- Get Feedback
Without feedback, you are making choices in a vacuum. Ask your clients how you are doing and where you can improve? The feedback you get will help you make adjustments and changes to ensure you are making things easy for clients and not making their lives harder.
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