Are You Making it Hard For Clients to Love You?

By on January 22, 2015
are you making it hard for your clients love you

By Jessica Eaves Mathews –

Customer Service. We all know that it is important. We talk about it and certainly give it lip service. But do we actually provide a positive customer service experience to our clients or customers? Or, is your customer service experience actually sabotaging your success?

Let me give you an example:

This week, I have been shopping for some items for my horse in preparation for a big horse show in February. I spent several hours online last night finding what I needed at the right price and with expedited shipping options. I must have the items quickly. When I finally chose the retailer I thought would give me what I needed, it was because they specifically said on their website that expedited shipping was an option and to email them to request it.

So, I emailed them after I completed my order and requested expedited shipping.

Here is the response I got: “The items you have ordered we had to order from the vendors and they can take up to 5 to 7 business days to receive. You could expedite ship to you once we receive them….it is a 5 business day ship for an over night ship to you is would be an additional $40, 2 day is an additional $20 and 3 day an additional $7.55….Let us know what you would like us to do…..”

Okay….

So I wrote back and said, “Can’t the vendors ship directly to me?”

Her response? “I am sorry Jessica…the vendors won’t do that……”

Huh? Isn’t this the world of Amazon.com, where shipping directly from the vendor is commonplace and fast? Wow.

So I am stuck waiting 5-7 days for the vendor to get around to sending the goods to the retailer, at which point I get the honor of paying an additional $67.55 for expedited shipping from the retailer to me. That isn’t expedited at all because at this point, it will have been over a week since I placed the order. If I choose to not pay for expedited, I won’t receive the goods for at least two weeks!

Needless to say, I canceled my order and found the goods from another retailer who would actually get them to me quickly. The original retailer lost the revenue and likely a customer as a result of this exchange.

Now, this might be an extreme example, but I don’t think it is. And there are some very good lessons in here for all of us.

1. Give Your Customers What They Ask For: Gone at the days of doing things the way you want to do them or the way they have “always been done.” There is very stiff competition out there for loyal customers, and if you aren’t being responsive and agile in the marketplace, you will get left behind and will likely eventually go out of business. Think about Zappos. Zappos has made an art out of providing world-class customer service. They aren’t any different than the horse supply retailer in my example. They don’t manufacture their own goods. They have to deal with vendors for their inventory. But instead of making excuses or telling their customers that they will just have to wait, they forged a new path and created a new level of customer service experience.

Just yesterday, I was on Twitter when I saw a post from a colleague come through about his experience with Zappos:

LewisHowes
I love being a @zappos VIP. Ordered new shoes late last night and shoes just arrived early afternoon #ftmfw!!!


Seriously, that is amazing customer service. I’d received things just as quickly from Zappos. Same from Amazon.com.

And before you start making excuses, remember this: Both Amazon and Zappos started out as small, startup companies. Don’t make excuses about why you can’t be responsive or provide stellar customer service. Ask yourself HOW you can provide an incredible experience for every customer and then make it happen. Take a no excuses approach to your reputation, your trustworthiness and your brand. It will be more work. It might cost you a bit more money. But it will pay off in the end.

2. Be a Good Listener: If you don’t know what your customers or clients want, there is a very simple way to find out: LISTEN to them. A surefire way to pinpoint where you need to improve is by listening in a non-defensive way to your customer or client complaints, or to their confusion via the kinds of questions they ask you. If you can get beyond your own ego and really hear them, you will learn something invaluable about the experience they are having and it will give you an immediate way to improve your business.

And if they aren’t offering up suggestions by way of feedback like my email to the horse supply retailer in my examples, ASK them. A great way to do that is by creating a Facebook page for your business and getting into a regular dialog with your followers. Linkedin and Twitter are also brilliant ways to build relationships with your target market. You can also do a survey through services like Survey Monkey. I assure you that if you provide exemplary service, word will spread and your brand will get traction. If you want more guidance on building relationships that will grow your business, then make sure you check out UnMarketing by Scott Stratten.

3. Treat Every Client Like a VIP: The final take away is that you never know who your client or customer is, and taking good care of them could result in really good PR via word of mouth, referrals and if you are lucky, you might even get some great exposure via social media (in my example above about Zappos, Lewis has 40K followers on Twitter…). I don’t think I need to say a lot about this except this: Treat everyone like a VIP and your brand will flourish.

Just Do It: Commit to making an art out of giving your customers or clients what they want. Devote yourself to giving them an experience they will want to rave about. Make it a game to do it better than anyone else in your industry and just see what happens.

©2011 Jessica Eaves Mathews International LLC, all rights reserved.

Jessica Eaves Mathews is a seasoned business lawyer, advisor and strategist, and is also a multi-passionate entrepreneur herself, having launched a number of successful ventures of her own throughout the past decade.  She is passionate about helping business owners and entrepreneurs launch wealth-building businesses infused with authenticity and passion, while also guiding them on how to minimize risk so they can do what they love without fear and without risking their hard work or their assets.  To learn more, sign up for her free newsletter at http://www.jessicaeavesmathews.com/.

About Jessica Eaves Mathews

Jessica Eaves Mathews is America’s Advocate for Women in Business™, business lawyer and leading authority on helping women entrepreneurs and women business owners step into their power and create a brilliant business and a brilliant life on their own terms. Jessica has now launched an incredible new e-learning center for entrepreneurs, the Business Brilliance University™ ,where there will be easy-to-use, easy-to-implement information that will allow them to create a solid legal foundation for their business quickly, inexpensively and painlessly. Most importantly, anyone will be able to do it without the huge expense and inconvenience of having to hire a business lawyer. For more information, visit www.businessbrillianceuniversity.com

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Are You Making it Hard For Clients to Love You?