Well, I’m back from my holiday hiatus, which all went by so fast! It was a joyful blur of little sleep, lots of parties, and baking till I could bake no more. I hope your holidays were just as wonderful as mine, and thank you so much for your patience! But without further ado, let’s get back to making exceptional client care a top priority this year!
When Your Customer is At a Loss for What to Do
One of my simple (but greatest) pleasures in life, is an herbed roast beef and brie sandwich from the local steakhouse’s market. With every bite, rare roast beef, perfectly caramelized onions, the reddest tomato slices you’ve ever seen, and 1/2 inch think brie spill out from every side of the baguette, as it’s just too much to be contained. For $9. Talk about an incredible value. You honestly could have sold it for close to $20. Which may be one reason, much to my incredible devastation, why it’s no longer offered. When just yesterday my eyes were frantically and nervously searching the new menu, I shuttered at the possibility of the extinction of the Herbed Roast Beef sandwich. When I didn’t find it, I asked. Maybe I’d made a mistake. Maybe I just couldn’t find it, but much to my horror, the answer was no. It’s no longer sold.
Dramatic as it sounds, I had no idea what to do with myself. Watching me in my sadness and confusion, Aaron quietly said to me, “You look like you’re in mourning. Like you can’t go on. You have to pick something else though. They’re waiting.” He was right, it was just a sandwich. I needed to move on. But sometimes a customer, just loves your product that much. So much that their shock and sadness takes over and they no longer have any idea what to do. They may stand there with a shocked look on their face. They might throw a fit. They might leave. But lucky you, their loss can be your gain, if you handle it right.
Lead Your Customer in a New and Possibly Better Direction
When a client or prospect brings you a certain product line you used to carry, or certain service you used to offer, or certain product that no longer exists but they desperately want, this is your time to shine. Naturally our first inclination is to say, “I’m so sorry, we no longer have that.” Or, “I’m sorry, we no longer have that. Is there something else you had in mind?”
Neither are wrong answers. But, there is a better answer. An answer that puts the responsibility on you, the business owner, to solve the customer’s problem. Because most likely, the customer doesn’t know any similar options. So if they answer no, they don’t want anything else, the conversation is over. But if you take the lead and make suggestions and ask questions, the outcome can be vastly different.
Phrases like, “I’m so sorry, we no longer have that. But we do offer this (fill in the blank), which is very similar as it has this, this, and this. And actually, it might even be better.” Or, “I’m so sorry, we no longer have that. But what is it about that (fill in the blank), that you loved? I might be able to find something similar for you. Or create it.” Both of these can open up an entire relationship just based on the fact that you went the extra step to find out what the customer is truly looking for. And then seeing if you can help.
And while you’re at it, show your genuine excitement with the new option. Talk it up a little bit, as long as you really do love it. Nothing heals a disappointed heart like hearing someone else be sincerely pumped about the possible replacement. It’s a simple idea, but one that is so often overlooked.
Find the Reason for their Devotion
It’s asking the question behind the question. You asked for the Designer in a Day service, but I no longer offer that, sorry. But, what is it about the Designer in a Day service that worked for you? The option for you to get a budget-friendly design? I do offer E-Design services that should work as well. The only difference is I don’t come into your home. You asked for a toile wallpaper that you didn’t know was wildly out of your price range? Well, no problem, this line has a very similar aesthetic at almost half the price. You had your heart set on a completely outdated sofa style that is no longer offered anywhere? We could either 1) look on resale sites or 2) find an updated style that has similar features.
Focusing on a solution rather than the problem is rarely easy, but neither is turning a Tuscan style design into a Colonial one. And you might have done just that. So the next time your client asks for something that you just don’t have, take the lead, and show them to a different but equally amazing path. As for me, I didn’t get so lucky. I randomly chose a pulled pork sandwich that was a little dry, and nothing particularly memorable. I wish someone would have suggested another reason/sandwich for me to come back to next time. As now I don’t know when there will be a next time. Make sure the same doesn’t happen for your own customers.
If you’d like even more ideas on how to ask the right questions, provide the right answers, and deliver client care that equals your spectacular designs, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!