So many companies say they treat their customers like family, but do they really? Seems like a lot of dysfunctional “business” families, if you ask me.
The fact is that most businesses exist to generate revenues. They offer a product or a service in exchange for financial compensation. The rules are clear, this transaction is expected and respected. Yet, so many companies claim to treat their customers like family and I don’t believe they do.
There are many factors that come into play, but we are at a time where there is an abundance of choice as to who we will do business with. If I want to get my computer fixed in Montreal and I Google “Montreal IT support”, I will get in 1.05 seconds a list of 127,000,000 hits. I would say that this list may be overwhelming. What makes a company ranked #1 better than a company ranked 126,999,999? The latter probably doesn’t have a proper website, and certainly doesn’t participate in paid advertisement, but are they really that bad?
I’ve met an event planner a few weeks ago who’s website has been under construction for years, but their schedule is full! Obviously, their reputation precedes them.
So, all these choices as to whom a customer can deal with, why would they choose you?
“We treat our customers like family!” you say, but so do most of the others, so you must stand out.
Think about every way you interact with your clients. Maybe you consider your customers family, but how does your customer service personnel treat them? How are they spoken to? How do your employees react when they are asked to do something? How are they made to feel when your employees are fixing an issue for them?
I propose you go beyond and treat your customers like the way a mom treats a child! What does that entail? For one, a whole load of love and appreciation. We love our moms (hopefully) because when we were a helpless child, they cared and nurtured us. They soothed us, made sure our needs were met and responded when we cried.
When a server goes down, aren’t our clients like a helpless child? Do we have systems in place to give priority to such events that affect the whole organization? Are we able to mitigate issues quickly? A good parent will be equipped for the needs of his/her child. You don’t wait till a diaper is full to make a trip to the store to pick up supplies…they are within reach and you clean up the mess efficiently and quickly.
Crap happens…so be prepared. Make sure proper backup and disaster recovery solutions are in place to quickly fix issues.
How do we nurture our clients? As a parent, we know we need to regularly feed our children or they will remind us of it. How do we feed our clients? We visit them on a regular basis, speak about their growth and prepare for these next stages with them. Do you have scheduled strategy sessions with your clients to nurture them?
We also strive to protect our children from imminent dangers. We will block stairways, block electrical plugs from curious little fingers, etc. Are we quick to warn our clients about current dangers? Have you spoken with your clients about WannaCry Ransomware that made the news over the week-end? Monday morning, your clients should have been warned to make sure they are fully patched and to be vigilant with emails that have links or attachments.
TIP: If not all your clients are managed, wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to communicate that all managed clients are well protected, patches were forced over the week-end. If they are not under a managed service agreement, for $XX/pc you can provide a PC Maintenance Session to ensure they are fully patched for Microsoft, Java, Acrobat, etc. Then, highlight the benefit of being on your managed plans to always be up to date!
How do we nurture our children? We tell them we love them. We make them laugh. We spend time with them. These are note necessary for survival, but they create a deep bond. What activities do you do to let your customers know you appreciate them? Do you practice what John Ruhlin calls “radical generosity” in his book Giftology. Giving gifts with intention can have a deep impact on the relationship. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, but a big intent in a small gift will have a deeper impact.
Lastly, we want to use our mom ears to hear the slightest whimper. I don’t know how my wife did it, but she could pick up a hint of a cry and come to the rescue. Don’t wait till your customers are crying out loud…because if a competitor hears them, they will coddle them and take your baby away.
Treating your customers like a son/daughter is more than just a cute thing to say. As any parent knows, it takes love, dedication and sometimes a lack of sleep. Treating our clients like our children will make them feel special, appreciated and loved.
It might be creepy to keep a picture of your clients in your wallet…but if that’s what it takes…get a big wallet and go for it.
What do you do for your client children? Share with us below.