Your phone rings, you answer it, you set an appointment to bid it and if you do everything just right you get the job too.
Most people would view that as a success. I must admit it is to an extent, but it doesn’t have to end there.
I’ll give you a real life example of how we took this scenario a little farther (profiting along the way) by simply providing some “extra customer care” to go along with some easy to use customer follow-up methods.
It all began with an inquiry through our website (if you don’t have a site I suggest you get one ASAP). The caller had a home he was about to purchase and he needed the carpets cleaned.
Now I know… this is a carpet cleaning request and not a commercial cleaning or house cleaning call BUT the principle is EXACTLY the same (it wouldn’t matter what business this story is about, business IS business).
Anyway… the potential customer needed the carpets cleaned the next day. Though I’m not fond of last-minute changes to the schedule, I gave my word we would fit him in.
Hint: Making the customer the FOCUS by finding a way to SQUEEZE him in to an already packed day was a POWERFUL way to let him know I own the company that can solve his problem!
But that’s not all… the next morning he calls and cancels due to some issue with the house (a problem arose and he would not be able to “close” on the property for an undisclosed amount of time).
Did I freak out that he cancelled, explaining how I jumped through a bunch of hoops to find a way to fit him in. OF COURSE NOT! Remember… my job is to make his life EASIER, not burden him with guilt over the situation.
Instead I gave him my cell, and indicated if anything changed to just give me a call and we would get it done. Again… I went BEYOND the call of duty by giving my cell number out.
Constantly going beyond the call of duty gets noticed by the potential customer you know! You may think they don’t take notice, but they do (as you’ll soon see).
After that call I thought the deal was dead. A lot of work for nothing! BUT, about an hour later he called back, the closing was “back on” and he needed us once again. What a turn of events!
Needless to say the carpet cleaning went off without a hitch. We showed up on-time, did what was asked in an extremely efficient way and collected our payment as well (about $450.00 bucks!).
He was thrilled and so were we. Everyone was a winner!
Many companies would have never made that sale. They would have tried to get the customer to CONFORM to their schedule, which would have never worked in this scenario. So by being the company that made the customer the focus, we got the sale (and a very satisfied customer).
But we didn’t stop there. The next day, as is our custom, we mailed out a “Thank You” letter to the customer. This is noting more than a little card we handwrite indicating how “thankful” we were to SERVE THEM.
This is another “touch” you should be adding to your service. When you go out of your way to THANK the customer for choosing YOU, it sends a powerful message to them. Besides, odds are your competition, whoever they are, ARE NOT taking the time to do this.
Now lets fast forward 3 weeks.
We get a call from a customer who wants carpet cleaning. Like we always do, we ask where did you hear about us? (you need to be asking that question too, as that’s how you measure your performance in different ways).
Guess where this customer heard about us? That’s kind of obvious now, the last customer I just spoke of! Turns out this caller was good friends with the guy I went out of my way for.
The real benefit to this type of situation for me is that this referral is PRE-SOLD on me. His buddy already told him about how I pulled through for him, doing a great job in the process.
Now this guy doesn’t need to be sold, I really just have to bid (no “convincing” this guy I’m good, his buddy vouched for me). So I make the date for the cleaning, we do a great job and he’s happy too (another couple hundred in the bank for me).
But there’s more (yes, it get’s better). It turns out this guy also owns a business, and SURPRISE, he needs carpet cleaning over there too! More money going straight to my wallet.
You would have to think that the story ends there. But I’m not done!
This customer then REFERS me to one of his employees. Guess what, I got that job too! What is the moral of this story? I made a cheerleader out of that first customer!
I would have never made it to the next few jobs (and the money they brought in) without going out of my way to begin with. That’s why this post is one you need to take to heart. Needless to say…
I recommend you use the same attack plan in your business.
- Go out of your way for the customer.
- Make them the FOCUS.
- Then make sure you follow-up with a nice little thank you card.
This approach goes a long way towards making you different from your competition. And as we all know, you want to be different! Blending in with the woodwork doesn’t pay the bills! It never has and it never will!
UPDATE 11-18-2012: Shortly after publishing this post guess what happened? YES… another job came my way. To make a long story short, one of the referrals above referred me to his best buddy. Another happy customer that never would have happened if I didn’t make that first customers a cheerleader!
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