Good client services start with two things. Listening and communicating. Two out of Three customers change suppliers and agencies because of poor client service. Great service isattached to the company culture and team. Hotels are the real eye-opener to keeping clients in the loop, even if it seems stupid or simple at the time. Good to great hotels do this exceptionally well. Without being pushy, they over-provide information so you know exactly what is going on in a timely manner.
In Dubai where &Mine recently started working with the largest construction company in the world, I got to stay at a handful of very nice hotels. Across the board at places like ‘The Address’ their messaging service was so good, they called you and if you didn’t answer, they sent a message to the screen in your room when there was an update on a booking or transfer etc. Even if you weren’t in the room, you always felt you knew what was going on and that the update would be sitting there for you. I also liked how when they do something for you extra or above and beyond, they didn’t make a big deal out of it, they just stated we’ve upgraded this for you, or we’ve allowed 15 minutes extra for you to get to dinner, but come down early if you want – then let you draw the conclusions as to why this is a positive, or just appreciate the experience.
And all this in a country with foreign sounding names, different timezones, different travellers with languages etc etc.
I find this similar to our clients understanding of our landscape – they have no, to little, to some skills about what is happening in our complex space and only the beginning of the language skills in terms of programming deliverables, so we have to inform them in little steps at a time to ensure we build the trust and confidence you get from a great hotel in a foreign land.
The feedback we get from clients is noticeably improved if we take small amounts of time to update our clients with these updates, and not just via email, pick up the phone or add in an extra coffee or quick face-to-face catchup.
Does the service need to be relative to the spend? I think we should be able to afford any client some extra time that isn’t obviously just part of the job. It surprises me the number of retail assistants in strips and shopping centres on their phones snapchatting while the industry goes down the toilet. While we are all a little wary of the ‘that looks great on you’ line, if the service doesn’t adapt no matter what the product, the company will suffer. You have to find a way to stand out within reason, within a time and cost your business can afford. But then if you are not standing out, can you afford not to?
I was lucky enough in Dubai to stay at the Burj Al Arab, where your personal butler comes and knocks on your door if they can’t get you on your phone… This really stood out. But the number of people I’ve told that to, is definitely promoting their success and why they were known as the world’s only six star hotel.
Customers are only human – they get happy not only with big results but with attention to detail. After purchasing a house from a real estate agent a few years ago, which was negotiated after auction, the agent still touches base each year to see how we are going with the renovations to the home and how we are finding it. While I’m sure I’m on a list of potential clients, that call stands out. In contrast, the new gate we installed is constantly playing up and I’m constantly chasing the company, that expeirence falls at the opposite end of the service scale.
Technology complicates things furhter with obvious pros and cons. It is now easier to reach to people and connect with people, but it is far less personal than traditional marcomms. Little emails or calls here and there can make all the difference; That is above and beyond what we do ‘now’ – which I think is mainly around what we are delivering at the time – instead of what we will be delivering, what we have delivered in the past, or we are doing for them – work in the lead up to the delivery.
I suggest we run this like the hotels for more updates in the week, call first (far more personal), if they are not available send a SHORT email.
Note: THE SMALLER, LESS TECHNICAL THE PIECE OF INFORMATION, the easier it is for them to absorb, it also leaves room for another small update to follow.
We’d love to hear your stories – Let us know below how you are providing these little improvements in communications to your clients, or when you received something from a company that really stood out.