Throughout my career, I’ve had the pleasure of working with customers across many different platforms – internal, external, B2B, B2C, Retail – and I’ve always enjoyed it. I love the new challenges customers bring to me, always giving me the opportunity to think outside the box for a solution.
When working with customers, it has always been my goal to exceed their expectations by:
- Doing what I say I will do
- Responding to them promptly
- Making it personal and fun
- Going the extra mile for them
By consistently serving customers with the 4 goals above, I've been privileged to earn accolades from my employers and customers, many heartfelt “Thank You” cards, and most importantly, a truly rewarding career.
Recently, in a discussion with one of my peers, I realized that, while those 4 goals are appreciated by the people you work for and with, it takes something more to really exceed expectations. To REALLY escalate your brand, you have to build a relationship with your clients.
If you are waiting for your customers to come to you when they have a problem/question/concern, then you are just setting yourself up to be an order taker. From your customer’s perspective, you are the person they reach out to when things are broken, and I promise, they aren’t excited to reach out to you. Even when you're following the golden rules of service listed above, they're going to start to associate talking to you with some negative/stressful emotions.
So, instead, be proactive on your accounts and build partnerships with them. Work with your clients on the front end - when things are all smooth sailing and sunny skies - and take some time to get to know your point of contact(s).
Build a baseline of business with your contact to understand:
- What do they love about their role?
- What are they looking to do next in their company?
- What isn’t working for them today?
- What is it about your company that made them choose you and are you delivering against their expectations?
- Where in their industry do they feel behind their competitors or technology?
- Where are they succeeding?
The more you stay in contact with them, the more you learn, and the more you can proactively help them be more successful than even they thought they could be. When their company finds a gap in their business, you’ll be the first person they think of to reach out to for help. Why? Because they know you care about their success and you’re a company who wants to partner with them vs. only taking more money from them.
So, if you have some time today - don't leave your clients to WONDER how or if you can help... Develop a partnership with them that ensures they'll KNOW, without a doubt, how genuinely you are invested in their business and how fiercely you're dedicated to their success.