August 25, 2016
This weekend Daniel and I were invited to the Abbotsford Airshow as a guest of Chef Michael Dicks of Culinary Touch Catering. He was the official caterer of the 8 Chalets there and served more than 5,000 guests during the three-day event. That’s pretty astonishing.
This isn’t Michael’s first “rodeo” at the show and after many years of doing this, he and his team have everything down to a science where it all ran very systematically and smoothly.
And this is the reason why he gets asked back to cater the Airshow Chalets year after year.
His clients know his consummate professionalism, attention to detail and high-quality culinary skills will not let them down.
Do your clients feel the same way about you and your business?
Do you continually bring in referrals based on your stellar reputation? Do you get continual repeat customers because they know exactly what they’ll get if they hire or purchase from you?
I’m proud to definitely say “yes” to those questions. Since our humble beginnings in the early 2000s, we have grown to a multi-six figure income business with 10 team members.
Between 90 and 95 percent of our business comes from referrals. That means we have built a reputation for delivering what our clients want and they are happy to tell others about us.
As a business owner, focusing on creating a sustainable business that thrives due to a stellar reputation is an ideal scenario to aspire to.
With this in mind, I put together a list of five top qualities that focus on the customer service you need to infuse into your every-day business practice that will give your business the longevity you want. It has worked for us since 2000 and it can work for you too.
1. Become a Master Networker… For Your Clients
Aside from networking to find your next client, be a master networker on behalf of your clients.
If they are struggling with a certain problem, help find someone to solve it for them. The best way to be on the lookout for these opportunities is through social media. Always watch out for when you can help refer someone to your clients that you know will help them with their needs.
This will make a valuable impression on them and they won’t forget your generosity.
2. Provide Exceptional Customer Service
I can’t stress this enough. Do you know how many times I get e-mails and phone calls from business owners complaining their Web developer or marketer disappeared on them? Way more often than you can imagine.
Make your clients a priority. They are your lifeline. Always return their e-mails and phone calls promptly and always provide the absolute best you can for them. No exception.
Don’t be one of those people who disappoint their clients, sending them to your competitor.
3. Truly Care About Your Clients
I can safely say I can call the majority of our clients friends. From our very first phone call, I’m working on developing a long-lasting relationship with them.
I want to get to know the person, not just the business I’m dealing with.
In today’s marketing arena, it’s now person-to-person and no longer B2B or B2C. It’s P2P all the way with me and should be for you too.
When you come across an article, product, book or anything else that you think would really help a client, send it to them. No strings attached.
You’re showing you truly care and want the best for them. This really helps when nurturing a prospect too.
Always be thinking on behalf of your clients and how you can best serve them, even if they’re not paying for it directly. You’ll get tremendous indirect rewards as a result.
4. Pay Attention to Details
“The devil lies in the details” is a saying I heard back when I first studied Web development. A missing quotation mark meant the whole site was broken. You had to have every keystroke of code done perfectly for it to work (and still do).
This same attitude should go for your business and especially when dealing with clients. Don’t let the mistakes slip past you. Set up a system that will double check what the client receives so they are not the ones who having to do the quality control and sending back the errors for you to fix.
Your business may not need as much care and attention but, in mine, it sure does. Not that we’re perfect, mistakes are definitely made, but if the client knows you’re on top of it and mistakes are far and few between, you will be forgiven for the odd transgression.
5. Be Consistent
Just as my example with Chef Dicks, consistency is a key to longevity in business. His Abbotsford Airshow clients know they can count on him to deliver exceptional quality every time, year after year.
You need to be focusing on this kind of consistency too. Excuses are not acceptable when you show up late for an appointment, don’t deliver on time, or didn’t provide exactly what you promised.
Figure out a system so you’re not letting anyone down in your business, especially your clients. Disappointment leads to them not having any loyalty toward you and your business.
Once you are known as someone who can be relied on, your referral and recurring rates will skyrocket.
Following these five rules of thumb in my business is what I can truly attribute to our success today. If you start making these strategies a part of your normal business habits, I know that you will see similar results too.
Do you have any other tips you can share that would help entrepreneurs and business owners build a sustainable business? Write in the comments section below.
As the founder, Susan Friesen brings a unique advantage to eVision Media clients by having earned a Bachelor in Business Administration degree with a concentration in Computer Information Systems through the Thompson River's University. Her experience in the Web development industry since 1999 has gained her much insight and knowledge in how to effectively brand a business and then translate that to a user-friendly, search-engine friendly, custom designed website. She is a graduate of the Vancouver Film School multi-media program and also earned several certificates in technology through the University of Victoria and Athabasca University. She won the 2003-2004 Governor General's Bronze Academic Award for achieving the highest academic standing in a diploma-level post secondary program. http://evisionmedia.ca