We often see this play out in sales when nurturing and then on-boarding a new client. Great effort (and resource often) is deployed to win a client to you. Promises made, great service provided. Yet, the reality of being a client can be different. That client you wooed through the sales courtship now has an expectation of what service they should receive. They’ve seen what you can do and expect you to keep doing it. Do you?
Similarly, whilst wooing that client – it is often than we see a lack of focus on existing clients. Those we have made promises to often suffer as we try to acquire new clients.
We also see this within retention departments – great, if not exceptional, service provided once the client says they’re leaving. Is it too late?
The reality of sales is that is can be quite easy to suddenly mobilise great service in a given situation. It is far more difficult to do so with steady regularity. Great service isn’t about one off flashes of brilliance followed by mediocre service. Great service is about consistency.
What should you be doing to deliver great service? You need to form a service charter with your client – agree what their service expectations are and deliver them:
- Ask your client what their service expectation is and looks like to them: You’ll be surprised, your definition of great service can differ vastly from theirs. What it looks like is more important than what it is. For example – ‘timely response’ is a common hallmark of great service. But does your client mean responding within the hour? within the day? Within the week? Unless you define it, it become impossible to deliver.
- Deal with any unrealistic expectations: Knowing what your clients’ service expectation, now is the opportunity to discuss with them any unrealistic expectations and negotiate with them around key service features, not after they percieve
- Deliver to this consistently: Now you know the expectation and have agreed on this – it is your job to deliver consistently to this.
- Review it regularly: Clients expectations change – so ensure you have a regular opportunity to sit down with the client and review their service expectations and amend as appropriate
Your clients business is dynamic and they need to trust you and your service – they need to know that your commitment to providing them service is unwavering and you can be relied on. You, as a sales professional, need to know what their service expectations are.
Great service starts by understanding what your clients expects and meeting or exceeding this consistently.
With client service it is far better off to be the tortoise, rather than the hare. Sprinting off the start line only to run out of energy or be distracted isn’t how to deliver exceptional service to clients. Understanding the length of the race and the pace you need to maintain is key to providing consistently great service to your clients.