12 Nov 4 Ways to Look Like a Superhero to Your Customers
When you are a customer, and you are taking your time to make the right choice, buy the right product, and choose the right company to do the work, what are your expectations?
How do you want to be treated when you set your first meeting, or you send an email to [email protected] asking a question?
You wan’t to be treated like the only client that business has, or like the support team is just watching their inbox, waiting for your email to come rolling in.
Now, are you treating your customers the same way?
All this time, your going to the office and your business mind takes over. You make decisions that are good for the company, that bring in more revenue, land more clients, and gives you the leverage to hire more employees. Are you building a community of customers, though? Does this business owner mindset make your customer rave about you? Does it make them excited to see your next product release, or to hire you for their next job?
How do you go from defining yourself as a small business owner, to a customer superstar?
You need a mindset shift.
Here are 4 easy ways to shift that mindset and make you look like a superstar
#1 Be a Teacher
Chances are your competition is doing much of the same thing you have been. You find prospective customers, you give them a sales pitch or a quote, they either buy or they don’t and you rinse and repeat.
Not only is this method boring to the point where you want to bang your head against the table, it’s not adding any benefit for your customers, and you are not standing out amongst your competition.
The only way to break this ugly cycle is to become a teacher. It may be a bit frightening, I know. But it’s not like being a high school physics teacher. In fact, its far from it.
The kind of teaching you need to be is more of a nurturing educator. Think of being tutored by a peer while you are struggling for a math test. By going overboard with valuable information before the sale, your customer will feel comfort in the fact that you are an authority in your field and will be the right choice for the job.
Customers Respect Companies that Educate
Think about the customers perspective. They are likely coming to you because they don’t know how to do something themselves. Take your time with each client to show them the basics. Chances are they will not want to get in too deep with the nitty gritty details, but now they will have enough to make an informed decision, and customers feel warm and fuzzy inside when they feel like they made the right choice.
Social media is one of the easiest and most effective ways of educating. So much of Facebook is full of opinion and selfies, it’s a breath of fresh air when you see something to learn.
- Do a Facebook Live post answering 1 key problem your customers have
- Use Twitter’s Periscope if Facebook isn’t where your customers socialize
- Share anything you make on Pinterest
Three more traditional ways to start educating:
You Will Have More Repeat Customers
Once you have educated someone, and you have produced outstanding results, you have proven yourself as an authority in your field. You don’t have to have 40 years of experience on your resume to be leader in your industry. You create the perception and follow up with outstanding service.
A great way to keep customers coming back is to keep educating them afterwards. Keep them on a newsletter mailing list where you send out tid-bits of knowledge that may spur them to their next project or purchase.
Your Existing Customers Will Rave About You to Their Friends
Once you have a customer who is feeling warm and fuzzy about their decision, the next thing they will want is to tell all their friends about it. There is a little bit of psychology behind this, but the basics are that they want recognition and validation from their peers that they did a great job choosing you.
Giving your customer the opportunity to rave about you on social media creates something known as “Social Proof”. Make sure you have claimed your space in the major social media platforms!
They Will be Better, More Informed Customers
If you have ever had that client who is completely silent during the sales and planning process, then starts to ask a million little questions during the project execution or after the sale, then this may be your #1 reason to educate.
If you have been doing this long enough, chances are you know the questions they are going to ask before they do. Take the time to put these on paper. Have answers ready for them in the form of a brochure, video, or website they can go to. This will keep you and your team focused during the project, instead of distracted with customer questions.
#2 Respond to All Feedback and Questions
You don’t want to be ignored do you?
Neither do your clients. If you get a question, answer it. If you don’t have time to answer it right away, send them a quick note (or even cut and paste something) telling them you care about their question and will reply as soon as you can.
Make it Easy for Clients to Communicate With You
Find a tool thats easy for you to communicate and gives you the freedom to disconnect. Don’t hand out your cell number to all of your clients. You will never find any peace.
Instead set up a separate number, preferably one that can be managed though an app on your phone. Google Voice and Skype are great options.
Keep Track of Follow Ups
Most of the time when you don’t follow up, it’s not because you want to avoid the conversation. It’s usually because you are so busy that simple things like an email or phone call slip through the cracks.
These are valuable client communications that may make or break a contract.
Flagging your email is a quick *and free* way to make sure it stands out from the crowd. On your iOS device, swiping left reveals the orange Flag button. Android has an similar feature. This will mark that email on your phone and in your mail program. In apps like Outlook, it will also create a digital task to complete.
Phone calls are a bit trickier. You listen to a voicemail and *poof* you’re back to work without any reminder that you need to follow up. You need to train yourself to document these calls as they happen. Immediately create a reminder in your to-do app, or ask Siri or Google Assistant to remind you. Make sure you give it a time to remind you or it will get lost.
Be Professional, Caring, and Educate Throughout
You are going to get criticism, and negative feedback. Its inevitable that we can’t please everyone. The key here is to be as professional and caring as possible, listen to their entire thought before responding, and give creative solutions to the problem.
If you are having a tough conversation with a client because they don’t understand something, fix it! Send them references, have them talk with another professional, or write a help document that you can reuse with future clients.
Add a Personal Touch
Send your customer a random gift. This sounds a bit too personal, but it works. The gift doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive. Many times the gift can just be a card thanking them for being a loyal customer, or maybe you drop by their office with a bottle of their favorite soda.
Never, ever do thank you’s in bulk. They are incredibly impersonal, and come off sales-y.
#3 Be Prompt
You don’t really need me to write this, but most people seem to suffer from it, so I’m going to talk about it. Being late, or not showing up at all puts tarnish on a relationship. Your customer deserves attention from you, and not distraction.
Make Your Calendar Easy and Clear
I’m still surprised today how many business owners don’t manage a consistent calendar. They write things down in 6 different places hoping they remember and that meetings don’t conflict.
Having a structured calendar will give you an at-a-glance snapshot of your day, and any conflicts or time-crunches will be immediately visible.
Rather than waste your time planning and booking meetings yourself, I highly recommend a scheduling application like Acuity Scheduling. With Acuity, you sync up your personal calendar which blocks off available time for your customers. They can then self schedule with you by selecting a time. Both you and the client are notified and it appears in you calendar. Any changes or cancellations are immediately updated. to both.
Don’t Overbook Yourself
Make a conscious effort to be realistic about your time. Understand how long meetings really take, and how much travel time you need. Don’t cram your calendar with as many client meetings as you can, hoping that the more people you talk to, the more sales you will get. Opt for value over volume.
If you are just too darn busy to meet with a client, let them know. Give them the opportunity to reschedule with a reasonable warning (I’m talking more than 24 hours here)
Be 5 Minutes Early to Every Meeting
The law of the land has always been to be 10 minutes early. I think this is a bit of a stretch sometimes. I set my calendar alerts for 15 minutes before a meeting if I don’t have to travel. If I do, I add 15 minutes to the travel time. This gives me 5 minutes to pack up and leave, 5 minutes to get out of my car and to their door, and I’m magically 5 minutes early!
Showing up early not only gives a professional image, but it likely gives you a 5 minute breather to prepare yourself for your conversation.
Don’t Make Excuses
Be a Real Person With Flaws
We are all human, and it is understandable when plans don’t go our way. You may be late to a meeting without any control over the situation. You may even miss a project deadline.
The make or break point is often how you handle these situations. If you are humble, honest, with no excuse then you will usually see a better result. If you lie, make excuses, or blame it on that stupid guy on the freeway, you are showing your client that you can’t take responsibility.
#4 Be Transparent
Transparency is a huge movement in business right now. Companies are coming up with amazingly creative ways of showing the inner workings of their business, and sometimes even sharing their revenue numbers.
Do I recommend that you let your clients know your revenue numbers? No, not really.
The real way that transparency can help every business is by making it more human. If a customer feels like they are working with real people, they will have a more emotional connection with you. Emotion is such a huge driving factor for purchasing that I will probably write a whole blog post on it, but always think about it when you make any decision that a customer will see.
Honesty Should be #1
This is more of a core value than anything, but if you are honest, you have nothing to hide behind. This is inherently transparent.
Show the People Behind the Company
What does your website look like? Is it full of product, features, service jargon? If I go to your About page, do I get to know anything about the people working there, or just the dull history of when the company was established?
Giving your customer fun ways to learn about the people behind your business creates a trust. When they call and speak to your receptionist, they feel like they already know them. As a result, you will find that the more personal your relationships become with your customer, the more they will want to work with you again and the more honest they will be with you about ways you can improve your business. Creative feedback like this is a gold mine and gives tremendous insight into your customers.