How does your business earn raving fans?

Just this past week I was reminded of how important it is to know what our clients value most and to be truly great at delivering that service or product.  In the course of a normal day, I experienced two examples of how services can be delivered:  One with a retail store sales associate and the other with a group of real estate professionals.  Now I’ll bet you’re thinking that in this economy, the client service award would likely go to the real estate professionals. As we all know—houses are not the number one seller these days and agents know they need to provide outstanding service to make it to the settlement table. Well, if you guessed the real estate professionals, you’d be wrong!

I went shopping last week—and those who know me know that it is not my favorite thing to do…  While in a menswear chain store, I casually mentioned to the sales associate that I had been surprised about the premature wear on the front placket of three button-down dress shirts purchased in 2009.  I commented that up until now I had liked the quality of the shirts, but was recently disappointed to see these three wearing so quickly.  His response?  “Bring them back.”  That was it—no defensive remarks on how I may have mistreated them in the washing/drying/ironing process, no excuses…simply the statement, “Bring them back.” Imagine my disbelief!  Just for a laugh, three days later, I did just that.  And you know what?  The same sales associate greeted me, smiled, took the shirts and instructed me to select three replacements—any three I wanted.  WHAT?  Could this be TRUE?  So I selected three, and mentioned I was unsure about one.  He commented that he felt there was a better quality shirt on a different rack and proceeded to show me where it was.  My jaw must have dropped (audibly) to the floor.  Was it possible that he was actually volunteering information to make sure I got the highest quality shirt—essentially, FOR FREE?  That is exactly what he did.  Five minutes later, I walked out of the store with three brand new dress shirts (replacements equal to those originally purchased)—valued at over $150.

What was so special about that experience?  The associate had listened to my concern, understood that I valued quality and made sure I walked out a satisfied customer–and he truly delivered, without a fuss.  Clearly, his employer stands behind the quality of their products and empowers their associates to make client-focused decisions.

In the future when I need to buy shirts, or any menswear for that matter, where do you think I’ll go? Jos. A. Bank — I am now a raving fan.  Why would I EVER want to go anywhere else?  And I am such a big fan, I’m telling all of you by writing this post.  That is the power of responsive client service—no one asked me to endorse Jos. A. Bank—I was so happy, I WANTED to tell everyone about the store and their service.

So, take a moment and think about it…  How does YOUR business earn raving fans?

  • Do you listen carefully to the casual comments made by your clients, respond cheerfully and suggest proactive solutions?
  • What do you do to encourage your clients or prospective clients to speak up and begin a conversation about what they value?
  • Once you know what your clients value most, what are you doing to be the best at meeting those needs?
  • What new ways will you find to surprise and delight your clients with an outstanding service experience or solution to their problem?
  • Do your actions deliver on the promises you make to your clients?

To build your fan club, you need to know who you are and how you best serve.  Once you know that, you can develop a clear picture of who your ideal client is.  When you focus your energy and attention on what your ideal clients value most, they will gladly spread the good news about how great you are at serving them.

PS:  Are you wondering about what happened with the group of real estate professionals?  Well, that will have to wait for a future post.  My mother taught me, “If you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all.”  Enough said.   🙂

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