Remember, only a few days left to join us for “The Exceptional Experience!” We’ll be starting on Monday, September 9th at 10 AM ET and are going to be learning an enormous amount of information on how to further transform your firm, and the service experience it provides, into something truly exceptional. Don’t miss out as this class will be only offered one more time starting in November, and then after that I’m not quite sure when/if I’ll be offering it again as I’ll be going on maternity leave in mid – January!
Also, if you’ve been considering the Client Service Consultation but just haven’t taken the leap on it yet, this is a great alternative. As a large majority of that information will be shared in this course. Register here before we start!
Nothing is More Important than Your Connection with a Client
Now onto this week’s post! Last weekend, Aaron, Weston, and I decided to trek up to my old stomping grounds, Chicago, to visit my best friend for Labor Day weekend. And while we were there I was reminded of the most powerful client experience principle there is, creating a memorable connection with your customers.
When we first arrived in the Chicago area, I requested that we go to my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. I couldn’t remember the exact name, or even what my favorite meal was, but I remembered that well, it had my favorite type of food, Middle Eastern. And that it had my favorite waiter of all time as well.
Now admittedly, this place has an unfair advantage as like I said I love Middle Eastern food more than any other type, as it reminds me of the year I studied abroad in Cairo, Egypt. And eating an oily bowl of properly dressed hummus truly makes me feel “home” again. But, it wasn’t just the type of food they sell. As I’ve bought Middle Eastern food from many, many Middle Eastern restaurants over the years. And I never look upon them like I look upon this place.
No, the reason I look upon this place with such adoration, is because of the sweet grandpa like waiter that was always there at the entryway, greeting you with the most welcoming smile you can imagine. And ashamedly, I don’t even remember the waiter’s name. And I clearly don’t even remember the name of the restaurant. But my friend and I do both remember how we felt when we went inside.
Your Clients Will Remember You, When You Commit to Connecting
Upon our arrival at the restaurant I told Aaron “Oh, there he is! There’s that sweet old man I was telling you about! I’m sure he won’t remember me, but he was always so kind to Stephanie and I. He was just our favorite.” After which the waiter greeted us and approached us with that memorable big smile and incredible kindness that I had come to know so well, realizing that of course he didn’t remember me.
I left Evanston 10 years ago. And although I did love this place, it wasn’t like I visited there weekly even when I did live there. I had probably gone there maybe 6 or 7 times over the year and a half that I had lived there, and that was it. Him remembering me was next to impossible.
But as he brought back Weston’s high chair, he put it down and looked at me and said, “I know this sounds crazy, but I think I remember you. Have you been here before?” I laughed and told him, “Yes! I have been here, I used to come here 10 years ago when I lived up here. And I remember you too.” He hugged me, laughed, and couldn’t believe that it had been so long, and that he was able to recognize me. I couldn’t believe it either.
When Aaron came back to the table, the waiter retold the story to him as well. To which Aaron responded with what I had said earlier, “As she came in the door today she saw you and said, oh look there’s my favorite waiter! I’m sure he won’t remember me. But you do!” It was a wonderful, and wonderfully memorable, moment.
People Will Remember How You Make Them Feel
Now to be honest that restaurant doesn’t have the most memorable or even the best Middle Eastern food, and they clearly don’t have the most memorable name (as I STILL don’t remember exactly what it’s called for who knows what reason, even though we just went there), but I will always remember how kind, hospitable, and friendly that waiter was. To the point that I remember him ten years later, and he takes the time and effort, to remember me. And it wasn’t just me. Every single customer that walked into that door he greeted with a “Hello there! It’s been awhile! How are you doing?” To him, each customer was memorable. So he took the time to make a memorable connection.
Now of course the investment that the client makes with you as a designer is far more than the price I pay to eat chicken shawarma. And therefore the pressure and expectations of your finished product are far more than my expectations were every time I walked through the doors of that restaurant. But creating a true connection with your client, no matter what’s at stake or what’s being purchased, that’s what makes the greatest impact. And that’s what clients will think about, even years after their project has ended.
So take some time every time, to really connect with your clients. Greet them with a warm smile. Be friendly in everything that you do. Let them know that you’re genuinely interested in them not only as a client, but also as a person. Ask them questions about their day and their interests, use their name when you’re talking to them, let them know they’re important to you and your firm, by simply listening, and being all in when you do so.
Be Careful to Not Just “Technically” Succeed
Because even if someone “technically” delivers the greatest client experience from beginning to end, it can still totally flop in the category of being memorable. And why? Because no connection was made. Because it was a “transaction” rather than a collection of memorable interactions and connections. Because everything was done “right,” but nothing was done with true emotion.
The more you connect and bond with your clients, the more memorable you become. The more connected you are to your clients, the more willing they are to put on rose colored glasses when the inevitable hiccups do arise. The more connected you are to your clients, the more and more they will tell other people about you, just like I’m doing with that waiter right now. This can be your client, talking about you, ten years from now, with their best friend, about the fact that they’ll never forget how kind, caring, and welcoming you really were in everything that you did.
Because few things are stronger than having a great connection or relationship with someone, anyone. We forgive mistakes, overlook upsets, and amplify how good something is, all because of a connection. Creating a great connection between two people, whether friends, or spouses, or parent and child, or client and customer, is like handing over rose colored glasses to them. It’s a chance for us to see things in a softer fashion than we otherwise would. It’s a chance for us to heighten our enjoyment of an experience, or a place, or a moment. And it’s also a chance for us to create a long lasting memory.
If you’ve had a long lasting memory of a connection you had with a business, their employees, or your own clients over the years, I would love to hear about it! Share your connection and what made it so memorable in the comments below!
And if you’d like to join us for even more ideas on how to provide the kind of client experience that gets you greater loyalty, efficiency, and profits, register for “The Exceptional Experience” before we begin next Monday, September 9th!