“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.” – Jack London
Now is the best time to stop holding good cards by providing good client service. Instead, be prepared to play a poor hand well by providing exceptional client service. The way to keep clients coming back to you now, and stay with you into the future, is to exceed your client’s expectation in the experience they have when working with you.
The client’s experience is the number one factor that will separate you from a lower cost agency. In other words, the client will pay you more for the relationship than they would a cheaper competitor with the same offerings. Playing the cards well – no matter how the hand has been dealt – is the way to win! In cards, and in business, it really isn’t luck that wins the game, it is playing strategically.
Here are 10 tips for establishing better client service that will help you keep, and win, more business:
- Don’t let your clients be satisfied with the level of service they have become accustomed to. Even if you think that you have been providing GREAT service to your clients, re-evaluate the service that you have been providing. Then, find a way to make that service better!
- Just because your clients stay with you does not mean that you are giving them great service. They might just think that all agencies provide the same service. Prove them wrong and show them why you are the best in your market.
- It costs you more to regain your clients’ confidence than it costs you to exceed their expectations up front. Once your client becomes frustrated with the service you provide, your agency will live with that stigma forever and you will always have to go beyond stellar service from that moment on. However, if you do something extra that your client doesn’t expect, that will keep you in good stead for a long time to come.
- Remember that it’s cheaper to compete based on service, than to compete on price. As it is, the Advertising Industry commoditizes itself and thinks that the clients are interested only in price. Provide better client service and you won’t have to drop your price to compete with the agency down the street.
- Find a way to save your clients time. As I always stress, define a step-by-step process and explain this process to ALL of your clients. Make sure that the process eliminates redundancy. Explain to your client the importance they play in following the process and the job timelines. Be prepared to hold your clients to that process and if they must deviate, be prepared to explain the consequences. For example, if they are not able to give you their feedback/approval by their due date, let them know that the final deliverables will then be delayed. If you allow them to deviate from your schedule without adjusting the delivery date, then you are in essence training the client that you have no predefined process.
- If you asked your clients to name the top ten businesses they get great service, would your agency be included in that list? If not, find out why. The reasons that are given will become the list of items you need to focus intently on to improve your service.
- The majority of your time should be focused on keeping your client happy by giving them service that surpasses what your competition would provide. The rest of your time should be spent on exceeding your client’s expectations by giving them the service that they would never expect!
- If you don’t contact your clients on a regular basis with pertinent information or strategic direction, they will certainly not give you any extra business or recommend you. Non-communication or even worse, non-productive communication is the same as non-competence in the eyes of most clients. Remember, if you are not providing your client with the service they expect, your competition will. Always stay ahead of your competition by exceeding your client’s expectations
- Remember that people talk more about bad service or bad products than they do about great service or products. This means that for every time you provide service or product that is sub-par to your client, you will need to provide many times over exceptional service AND product to make the client feel they are getting average service. So, make sure that the service is as good as or better than the deliverables you are producing.
- And lastly, remember the word-of-mouth multiplier. On average, a client with a bad experience then tells 5.6 additional people. Those people then tell an average of two new people each. So, from that one bad experience with one person has now been communicated to 16.8 people. On the other hand, clients with great experiences only tell 4.4 people who typically only tell one person.
In conclusion, I would ask yourself……”Self, can I afford to not give exceptional client service?”