In the world of client experience and client service, there are legendary tales of going the extra mile to wow a customer. They’re so amazing that they almost seem unbelievable. Like they’re just tales of lore that some client experience manager made up long ago to give employees a goal to live up to. Because they really are just that shocking.
Like when Nordstrom returned a set of tires for a woman who insisted she bought them there (even though Nordstrom has obviously never sold tires). Or the story about a woman realizing upon her arrival at a bed and breakfast that her husband had left all of her clothes for the weekend at home. So a staff member drove two hours back to the guests’ home to retrieve them. Or the story of a loving daughter who was desperately trying to get her elderly father some food before a winter storm came in, before the age of grocery stores delivering. Everywhere she called she heard a “sorry we don’t deliver,” until she called a Trader Joe’s store that said well, we don’t deliver but we’ll make an exception. And oh yeah, here are some recommendations for your father’s low sodium diet, and by the way there’s no need to pay. It’s on us. Talk about a wow. And talk about truly kind, selfless beings and company policies.
And while these stories are amazing because they’re stories about people going above and beyond to make someone else happy, they’re not often presented to a business. Most of the time, business hums along normally, without much happening out of the ordinary that really allows you to go above and beyond. So what to do? Just be content to not wow or impress? Or show clients how much you really do adore them? You know I can’t let you get away with that.
The Opportunity is in the Ordinary
So, au contraire mon frere. There’s always opportunity in the ordinary. Most of the client experience and client service wins and wows you will have, are in the ordinary, every day, ho hum, part of your design firm. And that’s not only ok, it’s actually fantastic.
You want your business to be consistently wonderful and amazingly systematic, rather than randomly incredible. Randomly incredible doesn’t bring you great and continual business. Consistently wonderful does.
What is Consistently Wonderful?
So what does consistently wonderful, well, consist of? The small day to day things. Always showing up on time. Always dressing to impress. Always being friendly. Always returning phone calls quickly. Always taking responsibility for issues that happen within a project, no matter who caused them. Always hiring staff that represent the kind of client service and client experience that you want to represent your brand. Always keeping your clients aware of where their money, their project, and their items are. All of these things make a firm consistently wonderful. They’re not particularly newsworthy, but they are particularly fantastic. And if you notice here, the operative and repetitive word here is, “always.”
Focusing on always delivering a high level client experience in your day to day operations is what will make you stand out. Because your client experience becomes an average of the kind of work you provide. When you look at a review for a hotel, or a restaurant, or even a book, you first look at how many stars it has. Because that’s showing you the overall average. Receiving five stars from 2 people who had an unusual but amazing experience will quickly be covered up and mathematically ousted by 200 3 star reviews who said that everything was just ok.
Repetition Matters More than the Wow Factor
What’s repeated within your business is what matters because people want (and need) to know what to expect when they interact with your business. They want to know that you’ll always be prepared, that you’re always there to listen, and that you’re capable and confident. And they need to know that that will also occur whether it’s today, tomorrow, or ten months from now. Or even whether they’re interacting with you, or Cindy, or Drew. And they need to know that a lot more than they need to know if you’ll return tires for them one day.
So, if you’ve been wondering and worrying that you really need to wow your clients from one day to the next to achieve an incredible client experience, worry no longer. The unusually amazing stories are amazing, and if you have the opportunity to make one come true for your business, I absolutely encourage you to do so. But when those opportunities don’t come your way, instead focus on what you can do today in the small ways. In the ways that seem more “boring” but really mean the world to your clients. Being consistently wonderful really does add up to a big wow. And although it may not be a news worthy wow to the world, it will be a news worthy wow to your client’s family and friends. And that means a whole heck of a lot more.
If you’d like even more ideas on how to provide the kind of client experience that gets you higher fees and profits, get on the Wait List for the next session of “The Exceptional Experience”!