Things Clients Never Want to hear From You

I’ve been working a LOT lately with organizations who are unhappy with their client “engagement” efforts.  I specifically train their front line client account acquisition, retention and management Teams to deliver constant moments of “WOW!” that earns trust, loyalty…and…REPEAT business.
Working on projects like this has led me to become more attenuated (locked in) and observant of times when people in SERVICE roles perform really poorly. We live in the SWITCHING ECONOMY where people bounce from vendor to vendor, and exhibit little loyalty to brands and organizations.
You have to constantly strive to  deliver your Unique Value Proposition that is driven always by stellar customer care.  That demands getting back to people when and where they are most receptive to hearing what you have to offer/deliver them.
So then, following are some best practice TRIED and TRUE ways to avoid having your customers and potential customers become so dissatisfied with you that they simply walk away.  As you read through this list, you may likely find yourself saying “But, of course!”  And yet…how many of these common client turn-off’s does your organization commit on a frequent basis.
1. Don’t EVER tell someone you will get back to them…and FORGET.  We all face tremendous challenges in our work lives and our work-life balance. Trust me when I say that NO ONE wants to feel like after thoughts who you get to AFTER you service other (more valuable???) clients.
2. Don’t EVER tell someone you failed to respond because you were busy. If I am your client and you are implying that you are “TOO BUSY” to get back to me in a timely fashion, I’ll find someone else who DOES value my business. When you tell someone you didn’t respond because you were extremely busy you are telling them point blank: “I didn’t value YOU enough to respond before those other commitments I had.” This is business SUICIDE.
3. Fail to deliver what was requested.  We all want WHAT we want WHEN we want it.  We don’t want to settle and don’t think very highly of vendors/service providers/partners who give us what they think is simply “GOOD ENOUGH.” We want to be wowed.
4. Don’t make it up or “wing it” as you go along.  When you are asked something you simply don’t have an answer to/solution for, tell the customer you have a few thoughts or need to investigate, you will get back to them on such a date/time…then HONOR THAT COMMITMENT.  It’s always okay to say you don’t know.  It’s NEVER okay to fail to honor your commitments.
5. Don’t offer the client your “Cookie Cutter” product/service.  They do not want/expect the same solution you provide every one else. They have unique needs, face specific challenges, and thus expect solutions customized to their specific situation.
6. Don’t sound bored/annoyed to hear from them.  Want to get a harsh, cold dose of reality. Have someone “mystery shop” your business.  What do they experience when they come into your store or speak to your Service Representatives.

Are your people motivated, trained, and focused on serving/providing solutions.  Or are they disinterested, and emotionally “checked out.”  This is the fastest way to earn loyalty and repeat business, or lose customers forever.
7. Do you have too many levels of decision-making to respond in a timely fashion.  As we flatten out hierarchical organizations into leaner matrix firms, the levels of decision-making need to be reduced to enable our people to make quicker decisions with more authority always with the customer in mind.  Organizations that excel in serving have delivered complete autonomy to their front line staff, by implementing holacracy.  You want your customers to receive fast responses. some organizations like Zappos and W.L. Gore have taken this to the extreme, going so far as to remove much of their management structure in their workplace.
I hope this helps. Here’s to your continued business success in 2016.