Though following through with quality stands at the cornerstone of an exceptional customer experience, solopreneurs need to consistently incorporate other facets of customer service and communication to stand out and make themselves the number 1 provider who clients want to do business with.
Some strategies take time, analysis and expense to implement, but there are others that are (or should be!) “no brainers” that you can do right now with very little extra effort.
Do these things for every project and for every client and you’ll be on your way to building trust and solid professional relationships that will lead to repeat business and referrals…
- Demonstrate that you care – beyond the work. This is so very easy, yet it’s amazing how often people neglect to do it. (That’s why you’ll stand out when you do!) In your emails and phone calls, add some friendly small talk before getting down to business. Ask your client how his weekend with the family was. If she was out sick for a few days, ask how she’s feeling. Inquire if you’ll see him at the next Chamber mixer. Inject appreciation of the opportunity to work with them. Crack a joke about the unseasonably cold weather in early spring (Given our uncooperative PA springtime temperatures, I’ve got a few I can loan you!). Seriously though, it doesn’t take much energy to simply be nice and not all business.
- Communicate often and clearly. Especially when you’re working on a project that has a bunch of moving parts and a deadline that’s more than a few weeks out, make sure that you give clients regular updates on your progress. Once a week is a good interval for updates (unless the client requests something different). That will give them the peace of mind that you’re getting things done and that you’ll be delivering what’s promised on time. Besides the frequency of updates, the clarity of them matters, too. Make sure that you organize your thoughts into a logical order so there’s no confusion about what you’ve been doing and what’s left to be done. Demonstrating your powers of organization and attention to detail will definitely win points and garner trust. And when clients send you emails and phone messages, get back to them promptly (don’t wait longer than 24 hours EVER – unless on vacation or over the weekend), even if only to let them know that you received their message and will get back to them soon.
- Share something that they’ll find interesting or find helpful. Whether they’re directly related to trends in your customer’s industry or applicable to doing business in general, share blog posts, videos or websites that might benefit your clients. Productivity tools and marketing tips are often appreciated and appropriate for just about any type of business. Of course, knowing something about your clients’ particular challenges and goals will help you identify resources that will provide value to them.
- Support them on their social networks. Actively seek your clients out where they exist on social media – and follow them on those that you have in common. Like their Facebook page. Follow them on Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube. Add them to your Google+ circles. Connect on Linkedin and follow their company page. And then occasionally interact via liking and sharing their posts – especially when they make big announcements or share achievements.
Not rocket science for sure, but all of the above can serve as the launching ground for a stellar customer experience that will keep clients satisfied – and keep them coming back.
Your turn! What are the little things that you do to make your customers’ experience one that stands out from the competition?
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