“Most companies want to be loved. They want passionate customers, enthusiastic vendors, and devoted partners. They want engaged and loyal employees. Yet in reality, pathetically few companies are loved. Most companies are tolerated at best, and ignored at worst.”
Sally Hogshead, End Malaria, Domino Project
We love to talk things up.
But how many of your clients love you or love your firm’s brand?
Marketing, business development or, even, social media often makes heavy weather of something that should be easy – winning and keeping clients.
We are all habits of creature. Yes, we might have a proclivity to shop around for a bargain, but once we fall in love with a product or service, we are disinclined to change.
But how do you generate the love factor?
Cut the roster in half. Work with clients that inspire you. Adopt, as Michael Port describes, a Red Rope policy. Who would you really want to let into your Club?
Less pressure to bill.
Focus on value (from the client’s perspective). You need to understand what the client perceives as added value, not you.
Talk in language that your clients understand. That doesn’t mean dumbing things down. But talk to them as if you are interested in their matter, as if it was the only matter in the world.
Pursue Excellence at every turn. Let that word r-e-s-o-n-a-t-e for a moment. If you undertake a client survey or two, how many firms are brave enough to ask if the service delivery was excellent?
The truth is that the word Excellence is bandied around like there is no tomorrow, but the focus is all inward facing. You keep asking yourselves what Excellence looks like but how often, really, do you ask your clients?
From a personal perspective, I always felt a tinge of guilt that I could not do more for a client, not from a professional stand point but rather by adding another layer to the service standard: less green time; or more time to get to know them without the perennial need to justify the time-sheet entry; or just enjoying a social event without the vacuous pretence.
In these average times, we have become succumbed to the mediocre, the Ho Hum or more often than we care to admit downright crappy service.
It really is not beyond the wit of us all to understand and appreciate that going a mile or two down the road to accomadating our clients’ need for you to deliver on your sometimes vague promise is the bare minimum we should expect to deliver.
You may think me quixotic but clients expect more than a quality service. They expect the best. Of course you care, but too much of what you don’t do, you take for granted leaving the client to wonder if there might be someone else out there who is better for them.
Don’t give your client an excuse to change.
If they love you they won’t.