A few years ago, I sat in on a client meeting with one of our sales reps who was meeting with a previous customer to reestablish a connection (and ideally, earn back her business).
While I mostly sat back and listened, I did ask the client this question: Can you give me an example of a supplier partner that does all the right things? And more importantly, what does that look like?
Her response was profoundly simple. “I want a vendor that will do what they say they’re going to do.” That was it. Whether you’re selling marketing solutions or widgets or technology support, her words summarize the ultimate customer service directive for all of us: To create lasting customer relationships we must provide exceptional customer service, which ultimately requires follow-through.
But, what does that mean? What does it look like for you? Sure, you need to ask the right questions to understand what your customers want and also anticipate their needs. But you also need to stop talking—and listen.
When you actually do that, you might be blown away by what you learn.
At Shamrock we employ Ken Blanchard’s Raving Fans approach to customer service as part of our culture.
In his book, Blanchard identifies three steps to creating Raving Fan customer service:
Decide what you want.
What kind of customers are you looking for? What type of relationship do you want to build with them?
Understand what your customers want.
In other words, listen!
Whatever it is that you do—perfect that—and then add 1% more: It’s the extra push that will set you apart.
Use that raving-fan framework as an auditing system, you can track how you meet and exceed client expectations and identify areas where you can improve. At the end of day, you must hold yourself accountable for doing what you said you were going to do.
But if you’re not writing these promises or commitments down, how can you track your progress? How can you hold yourself accountable? By implementing an actionable business plan that identifies clients (or departments or market segments) and that details specific tasks, you’ll be well on your way to successfully managing yourself.
If you need help getting started on that plan, connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org