Clients comprise buyers of products and services. They are instrumental to sustaining businesses that demand one-to-one interaction, largely a dominant feature of Business-to-Business (B2B) transaction. In critical sectors such as logistics, laundry, ticketing, equipment supplies, sales and management consulting, effective client service is key to success.
Every sector contains hundreds to thousands suppliers of services and products. It seems the clients are bombarded by subtle and overt choices locally and internationally.
Since this allows for no margin of error among industry players, stimulating preference is considered the greatest task of every business.
The competition to gain attention, and stay preferred, in any sector has become so fierce. Buying choices, including repeated patronage, are based not just on quality but price, accessibility (via the internet or in close space), and relationship.
However, since competitors these days have learnt to benchmark competing offerings and provide ranges to appeal to diverse wallet sizes, something else, which is the human-side of business, becomes the differentiating factor.
It’s great to innovate but every innovation gets quickly matched, even surpassed. In the end what keeps users connected to a product or service is the impression built overtime via marketing and personal engagement.
Maria Thimothy, Senior Consultant at OneIMS, a firm that helps businesses create and capture demand, explained in a recent article for inc.com , how businesses can retain preference in an intensely competitive global and local market.
Go above and beyond.
This may sound like a cliché, but it’s all about demonstrating that you are willing to do more without being asked. That may mean working into the evening to help a client launch a campaign or responding to an urgent message over the weekend. It’s not expected, and that’s what makes it meaningful.
Show you care.
We all know individuals who show up to the party but never help set up or clean up. Showing that you care, and that you truly want to help, makes a big difference in determining whether someone thinks of you as indispensable. Show that you care not just by thinking about them when you have to, but also randomly through surprise-and-delight moments. Sending a quick note to check in on someone or following up on a client’s recent launch will be remembered.
Give each project your best.
Doing what’s easy might be the quick solution, but it’s not always the best one. Rather than just focusing on getting someone off your back or getting something over with, try to give your best every time. As a consultant, this means guiding clients toward better campaigns and better execution. Sure, we can easily focus on quick fixes, but what if an alternative solution will deliver better short- or long-term returns? That may mean additional work, but you’ll be appreciated for not taking the easy way out.
Listen more than you talk.
Listening intently to someone always demonstrates your respect and interest. Whether it’s a client or a good friend, listening goes a long way. Next time you’re meeting with a client or a friend, make it a point to let them talk rather than making yourself the center of the conversation.
Show up when no one else will.
This truly hits home when I think about our current situation, as many people need support now more than ever. When working with clients, showing up may mean being available and willing to help when others wouldn’t be. I’ve worked from airports across the world simply to make sure I didn’t leave anyone hanging. Yes, even on holidays. When you show up consistently, your clients know that you aren’t there only for the good times.
As a consultant, getting the boot is one of the worst feelings. That’s why I’ve learned to be grateful for every client who puts their trust in me. It’s easy to take your clients, employer, family or friends for granted. Take every opportunity possible to thank your customers, employers, friends and family for the opportunities and support they’ve given you.
Start being indispensable today.
During challenging times, it’s important to reflect on what we can do better for the future. Becoming indispensable to your clients, your employer and those around you means that you’ll be around through the good times and the bad. Take this time to determine if you’re going above and beyond. If not, don’t be surprised if you’re given the boot when things get tough.
Note: Maria Thimothy’s writing was culled from inc.com