We’ve all been there. Those moments where you think to yourself, “why on earth am I doing business with THESE people?” As a small business owner, I seek out real life examples of greatness everywhere. It helps me make sure my business stays grounded in the things that are so important - Customer Service being a top priority.
Rewind a few months with me. My poor car was hit and needed some TLC. In steps ABRA, a local auto body shop. They seriously took over and handled every aspect from organizing my rental car to scheduling the repairs around my family’s crazy calendar. It was top notch. As I lived the experience, I learned several key lessons that I’ve been able to implement into The Savvy Peach.
1. Clear communication about expectations and job details. Make sure your clients know who you are and what your business is all about. Many times, they bring their own expectations to the table that do not flow with your business process. What is the deadline? What are the specifications for the project? Let them know your plan for their project and provide an idea for timing and pricing (and stick to it). Clients appreciate punctuality and will become return customers if you are prompt with your time.
2. Know your client. Now that your client has an idea about who you are and what process you have in mind, it is time to get to know your client. Here at The Peach, we feel it is so super important to know who you work with. I mean, “send a 'congratulations on your new baby girl' note when your client has her fifth child” or “Merry Christmas, here are some of our favorite Harry and David pears because you rock our socks” and “hi there, we saw this at the store and thought of you.” Establishing a common ground will endear you to your client. Shoot, you may even make a new friend y’all!
3. Give them options, but not too many. In today's society of busy, we need to tweak down the amount of options we present to a client simply because of time restraints. Providing too many options causes clients to become confused or overwhelmed.
It is my job to create my idea of a client’s perfect logo, but it may not always be what the client asks for. If you are going to go outside the “client’s box”, make sure you give them exactly what they ask for too (even if it is not your favorite). Be honest and tell them why you think their concept may not work. Give them feedback and ideas on how you can tweak it to be the perfect fit. Don’t make your client ask you twice or fight with you over a design. Educate them and pitch them on a different idea if you feel it is necessary, but reassure them they will get exactly what they want in the end.
4. Throw in a little something extra as a “thank you.” There is nothing better and more powerful than a sincere thank you. Letting your clients know they truly are important to your business is one aspect that you cannot gloss over. Toss in some extra consulting or a quick design project as a little gift to show your appreciation. By using your talents and time, you are showing just how valuable they are as a client. And they are going to love the freebies!
5. If something goes wrong, make it right. Listen, I’m not telling you to give away your kitchen sink. All I’m asking of you is that you make things right. Take the time to listen to what your client is asking for and correct any wrongs that may have come up.
Let me jump back to the ABRA story. You see, they fixed most of my car. A few weeks later I noticed that my front bumper seemed to be pulling away from the rest of the car (uhhhh, not good). I quickly phoned the office and spoke with the general manager who assured me that they would take care of the repairs as quickly as possible. She estimated 45 minutes (and no charge to me) for the job to be complete. We scheduled the appointment and I arrived right on time (being punctual is my thing). I set up shop in their front lounge and was knee deep into a logo design when I heard “Mrs. Hunt, your car is ready.” I had been there for less than 25 minutes. Seriously? She explained that they were terribly sorry for my inconvenience and had stopped another project since I was waiting for my car. I felt like royalty!
Taking the time to make people feel important and showing them how valuable they are to your business is a daily piece of your business puzzle. Make sure it is a part of your business core values, your daily routine. We have to love on people every way we can in order to create relationships that will cultivate repeat business and lasting friendships.
Until next time Peaches!