Companies often forget that business is about people. Seems like a basic truth right? Your company doesn’t do well unless people buy what you’re selling – whether that’s a product or a service, somebody still needs to be convinced that you’re the best option. Somebody needs to make the decision that yes, you are better than all of the competitors, and I want to give you my hard earned cash.
If you have a negative experience with your builder when you’re putting the top floor on your house, you’re not going to hire them again when you decide to renovate the kitchen. You’ll choose somebody who will deliver what the previous builder didn’t, whatever that was. Same principle applies to everything.
It astounds us here at IYBI how often big companies forget that the individual is the reason they have a company in the first place. How often have you had a query about a product, and then been unable to find a phone number to call because it is buried so deep in their website? It’s important that the client’s benefits are at the forefront of your thinking. Our recent client Sunescape does this particularly well.
We find it so astounding because we think it’s so easy to be personable. All it takes is a smile and a willingness to help. We know that we are much more inclined to buy our morning coffee from the little cafe on the corner where we get greeted with a warm smile and asked about our day than we am to go to a chain store where a sullen teenager who would clearly rather be anywhere else practically ignores us and then gets our order wrong. We’re even willing to pay a bit more and wait a bit longer for the coffee at the cafe because going there brightens our morning and we walk away feeling happy and important (all BEFORE we’ve had our morning caffeine, which believe us is a big deal).
The same goes for any business. If your clients can contact you to ask questions or give feedback, they are much more satisfied and likely to cut you a break if you make a mistake (mistakes happen, let’s not pretend they don’t. We are all human after all). Everybody has had the frustrating experience of having one simple question to ask and sitting on hold for an hour, or getting an automated ‘we will contact you soon’ email back. The clients who feel like they’re banging their heads against a brick wall are the ones you never see again. If your clients feel heard they are happy. Happy clients come back next time they have a project, and recommend you to their friends.
So here is IYBI’s foolproof checklist (because there’s nothing better than a good list) to giving your company the human touch, instead of putting up a digital wall.
1. List your contact details in an easy to find place. We know this seems super simple, but there’s nothing worse than wanting to quickly call someone and not being able to find any contact information.
2. Respond to all emails. I know that everybody is crazy busy, and some days you really don’t have time to scratch but replying to all of your emails is so important. Even if it’s just a simple “I’m sorry I can’t help with this” or “Thanks for your interest but we’ve hired somebody else” at least a response was given. There is nothing worse than complete silence.
3. Answer your phone. Nobody likes talking to an answering machine. Your voice always sounds weird.
4. Take the time to learn your clients names and situations. They will feel special that you’ve made the effort to remember that they had a big event at work last week, or their partners name.
5. Smile! Never underestimate the value in being friendly.
Simple really. Yes it does take a little extra time and effort, but what would you prefer – 50 happy clients or 500 disgruntled ones?