Our industry is known for slow to respond communication, hard to get in touch with teams, delayed projects and confusing processes that easily lead to frustration.
Over the years, I have focused on the concept of taking the friction out of the process and creating an experience in which our clients feel as though our team consistently over-delivers. In doing so, I’m curious to know what other companies are doing.
Simply put, I find my focus in three key areas: being available, being engaged and executing the what by the when.
Being available breaks into two parts for me:
1. Answering the phone
You would be amazed at how many companies simply don’t answer the phone or it immediately goes into an automated system after the first ring. I cannot impress the value of a human picking up the phone and talking to another human. It saves hundreds of emails, hours of time and shows the client a level of responsiveness they desire but are not used to getting.
2. Responding to emails within the same day, seriously
Even if you don’t have the answer, it is critical that the client knows their message has been received. I get over 200 emails a day and respond to them immediately. Is it a challenge? Absolutely! That said, by doing this I put the client at ease and allow them to know I am working on their question, even if I don’t have an answer within that same day.
Secondly, being engaged breaks into three parts for me:
1. Meeting preparation
Every meeting that I lead with a client, I treat as a show. Nothing loses confidence faster than lack of preparation. You are on a stage, act like it.
2. Learning your clients’ business
In this industry, what we do is not a simple transaction – we are helping them build their businesses. If you can speak intelligently about what they do, it helps solidify the relationship of trust so that you have more creative leeway to pull off whatever solution the project entails.
In the early stages of the relationship, it’s key that the client does 80% of the talking and you are doing 20%. By giving them the floor and truly hearing them, you are much better set up to design a solution that will impress them and solve their actual need vs. what you think their need is.
Finally, executing the what by the when is simply doing what you say you are going to do, and when you say you are going to do it. You have spent all this time showing the client you are there for them and engaged in their needs, but if you miss a deadline or the project comes up short – it’s all for naught. Execution is hard. Complex execution on a schedule can be tricky indeed, however, it is the very reason we are all here.
It is my belief that the client experience is so poorly focused upon throughout the project lifecycle, that it actually creates the area for the largest gains. By doing these three simple things, it will lead to a rhythm of over-delivery for your base. Where are you finding successes in your processes?