It surprises me how many businesses are out there for whom it’s okay to have a client who is dissatisfied. Many times, the business objective seems to be just to do the bare minimum that gets their money from the client.
If you are actually in the business spending time, i.e. you are spending part of your life, why not aim to delight the customer?
I will give you one reason why you want to delight the customer. Most of services business comes through referrals. And a delighted customer is much more likely to refer someone than a customer whose expectations you have barely managed to meet.
To Delight, What Matters Most is You
If you have been able to delight a boss at a job, a team manager at a voluntary organization or for that matter another client, you will know what it takes to delight a customer. The skills that go into delighting a boss are the exact same skills that help you delight a customer. Broadly, the ability the inspire trust, the ability to ask the right questions and listen to the customer and the ability to under promise and over deliver are the skills you have to develop if you want to delight customers.
Does someone who works with you trust you? Will they want to share their secrets with you? Or ask for advice? The pattern of behavior that inspires trust is very important. It’s the sense of “Yes-this-person-can-do-it” feeling that’s important in the beginning of a relationship. After you establish a relationship, your track record (delivery on promises and honesty) counts.
Asking the right questions and listening to customers is important to make the customer articulate what she wants and make her feel important.
Most [means all :-)] people have a need-the need to feel important; the need to be acknowledged and understood; the need to feel valued and cared for. When you deliver a service, the above needs come to the fore. When a client’s need for feeling important is not satisfied, it hurts him/her and she/he feels neglected.
How do you make the client feel important and cared for? There is one simple way.
Listen to your client well. It’s as simple as it sounds. And it’s easy to implement.
If you deliver to her specs, the client would think that’s what she bought. You have to over deliver. This means that it has to show that you had worked harder and smarter than what she asked for. It can be that if the client asked for 10, you give her 12. If she asked for x amount of quality, give her more than that. If you have to deliver on 17th, deliver it on 15th itself. That positive “surprise” is an essential element in delighting customers.
Taking the customer into confidence when things go wrong
In case you are unable to meet a commitment, the best way out is to own up to the shortfall. The thumb rule is: make a bad news known to the client as soon as possible but delay good news till it actually materializes. Both will prove your sensitivity to the customer.
Most service businesses are relationship based businesses. That means that the more customers you can keep, the better business you will build and the more profits and revenue you will make. On the other hand, if your repeat business is low, that translates into higher customer acquisition costs.
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About the Author: Chaitanya Sagar is the Co-Founder and CEO of p2w2 (for PeopleToWorkWith), which helps small businesses outsource services like business and financial planning, software, virtual assistance, and research. p2w2 focuses on bringing quotes fast from professionals and giving the right information to make an informed decision. p2w2 also helps build relationships with vendors so you can focus on your business. Chaitanya blogs at p2w2 blog.