Service is first in any service business!
Now that today’s consumers shop online for everything from colanders to college funds, those of us in the professional service business must figure out how to deliver on a concierge level and stay competitive. When customers are shopping on the web, rather than from a known neighborhood business, how do we show that we value the service we provide and strive to get better at it every day?
How do we rise above price shopping, to attract clients who seek that high level of service?
How do we become the American Expresses, Nordstroms, and Ritz Carltons of the world?
Strive for exceptional experiences
Naturally, you have to price according to what the market will bear for your service, industry, and expertise. But that doesn’t mean discount. Providing a high level of service can effectively remove price from the equation. How do you do that?
- When you have the opportunity to go above and beyond – do it! Meet and exceed your customer’s needs, to the best of your abilities.
- Make people feel special. Delivering on a concierge level means making others feel important.
- Share your gifts and knowledge with your customers (and continue to grow in your knowledge base).
- When asked to compromise, always be the bigger person…it comes back to you in life and business tenfold. For example, when a customer has to reschedule, accommodate them and let them know that you completely understand and it is no trouble.
- When a customer needs to talk right away, get on the phone.
- When a customer asks for your knowledge, lend it freely.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of a simple “thank you.”
When GREAT experiences happen – they stay with a person. When terrible experiences happen – they stay with a person, and then that person goes on social media to ‘Yelp!’ about it. Service industries have to wow the clientele, so that they ignore the social media chatter.
When you mess up, own up — and look for solutions
We tell our children repeatedly, when you mess up – and you will – take ownership, apologize, and ask how YOU can make the situation right. Many negative social media reviews could have been avoided by an apology and some problem-solving. Sure, there are people who complain about everything and that accounts for some bad reviews. But many times, a dissatisfied customer is posting on social media because they don’t feel like their problem was solved.
Make things easy on your customer
Remember: technology should serve your customer. Not the other way around. Systems are important for any service business. However, we must also be flexible for our clients’ preferences. Technology is infused into our every move, and it can make or break our interactions. Therefore, we have to have strong enough relationships in place with our clientele to overcome the minutiae of bugging them to ‘forward authentication codes’ or asking them to re-register on portals as our ‘systems have changed’. If you implement or change systems, understand that your clients will need your assistance to navigate them.
Establish personal connections
We need connection and support from our partners in business. We need to reach out and show concern for our clients and staff. We need to stop being so remote— even in a remote environment. Personally, I strive for this every day. (And so do most of you— just read our featured clients blog posts and you’ll see that!) If each of us as entrepreneurs approached our business life with these principles, I believe we would be delivering on a concierge level.