When it comes to the art of delighting, online retail businesses seem to be a leap ahead of any others. We receive emails to say ‘Happy Birthday, here’s 10% off!’, we receive personalised messages about a purchase we’ve made in the past and in some cases, we still receive snail mail letters from these brands.
These things all enrich the business-customer relationship and there’s some things that make this easier for the retail sector than any other. Firstly, thanks to customer databases and membership schemes, retail businesses know a lot about us. They know our age, our birthdate, how frequently we shop, how much we spend, what we like to buy, what colours we’re interested in and the list goes on. Couple this with digital integration and having those points of contact with customers is automated, simple and really a no-brainer.
For other business environments, like professional services, it’s not as simple to a) gather data about your clients and b) seamlessly automate these systems, largely because points of contact are much less frequent. But a well kept secret is that professional services based businesses don’t need to replicate the technology strong retail model for customer and client sweeteners, because they’re much stronger if they use a more traditional model.
Because our lives are so monopolised by digital communication, when we receive something that isn’t electronic is resonates with us on a different level. It means that someone, somewhere, had to spend precious time out of his or her day to create it, and there’s no bigger delight in life than someone giving up their time for others.
So how can professional services business reinstate the art of delighting clients and seeing better business relationships as a result?
Step One: Select
Firstly, businesses need to select what they’d like to do and there’s plenty of options out there. A few of my favourites for professional services businesses include:
- Hand-written letters/notes at holidays or Birthdays
- Phone calls every six months to catch up and check in, take notes about what they say so you have talking points and follow ups for the next call
- If you use social media for your business, give shout outs to clients when they have achievements or successes congratulating them
- If someone has given you a lot of business, a small gift of acknowledgement like sending cupcakes or a restaurant voucher to their workplace is great
- Always follow up - at the end of a work segment, make contact to ensure any systems or products are being used well and they are seeing results or are happy with the progress
- Select as many as you feel you can realistically cope with and put together a plan for implementing this. Whether it’s a regular spot each week you block out for ‘delighting’ or a diary reminder for each Birthday, occasion etc. make a plan for how you will action the delights.
Step Two: Account
Make yourself (or an employee) accountable for delighting. Set a timeline and a review date to monitor a few things;
- Has it been implemented well?
- What feedback have you received?
- Has the impact on clients been significant/recognisable?
- What can be improved?
It’s that simple, if you make it a business process and make it a real connection - something that takes time out of your day to improve someone else’s, great things will happen.
Just make sure it’s real, authentic and you do it from the heart!
Do you still try to delight your clients? Or do you have an accountant, lawyer or architect who does delighting well? Tell us in the comments…