Think back on your own experiences as a consumer, a client, a patient or a restaurant patron. Which establishments and companies stick out in your memory? Why do you remember them? Was it because their employees went the extra mile or added a small touch to make you feel important and valued?
As a business, you can create that same feeling for your clients by going beyond what’s expected of you. Basic client experience means delivering the product or process that you’ve promised. But an exceptional client experience involves paying close attention to your clients needs and the details that make them feel special.
In a column for Inc. magazine, Paul Spiegelman explains how minor efforts and niceties can have a major impact on a customer’s impression of the business.
Spiegelman’s own organization, Beryl Companies, focuses on managing hospital patients’ interactions. The “small things” are a big priority when managing employee and client relationships, he says. “In order to build strong relationships with your customers and employees, you’re going to need a game plan that puts the little things at the forefront,” Spiegelman notes.
Read between the lines when communicating with clients, look for “unspoken needs” that may be expressed in body language or tone, and tell employees to do the same. This can help you anticipate and address service requests or complaints before the client voices them.
When you’re courting a potential client, Spiegelman recommends giving each prospect a personalized experience. Make them feel like part of your team from the outset, and cater to their needs beyond the standard services you hope to provide. He gives the example of sending office visitors away with a “goodie bag” of branded keepsakes (a keychain, a calendar). This can keep your firm top-of-mind even after the person leaves the building.
Small business marketing expert and Entrepreneur magazine columnist Kim Gordon also suggests reviving the company event as a form of client appreciation. A golf outing or sporting event allows you and your staff to spend more time with your clients outside of the business setting.
Conversations that occur on the green or in the stands may build trust and connections that would never happen within an office or over the phone. Sponsoring the event also provides your firm with the chance to say thank you for your clients’ business and remind them that you’re grateful for their continued support.