Last week on our very long drive down to a family vacation in Florida we had one goal: biscuits from Cracker Barrel. That was our focus the entire time. Get to our location early enough so we can go to Cracker Barrel and eat their fluffy, salty, warm, clouds of heaven biscuits. And thankfully we did.
I also noticed on the way down multiple billboards for Red Lobster with a picture of nothing else but their Cheddar Bay Biscuits. I couldn’t care less about Red Lobster seafood, but those Cheddar Bay Biscuits, now I’m interested. The same goes for Olive Garden. Couldn’t care less about their pasta, but those garlic breadsticks, now we’re talking. They’re motivation enough to go.
Develop Your Signature Way to Say “Welcome”
What do all of these things have in common other than the fact that I love warm carbs? They’re a signature way to welcome guests. Now tons of restaurants all over the place do this, Mexican restaurants offer free chips and salsa, pasta places often offer bread and oil, etc. But what Cracker Barrel, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster all have in common, is that it’s actually a featured item. Even though it’s free. It’s what part of what they become known for.
The same can be done for your design firm. Welcome your clients with a signature item, that represents you, but is for them. When your clients have decided to move forward with a full service design package with you and they’ve signed your LOA, handed over the retainer, it’s time to really put out the “WELCOME” mat. Get a batch of Welcome note cards (but I wouldn’t recommend branding it with a logo), write a personal note welcoming them and thanking them, have your entire team sign it, and then you can send it with your signature gift (but make sure it’s not logoed. That’s not a gift. That’s promotion). Whether it’s a small bouquet of flowers, box of French macarons, or bottle of lemon curd with a pound cake, it’s a really impactful way to say “welcome” for a very small price.
Easily Stand Out
When was the last time you received a handwritten Welcome/Thank You note and a small gift after signing on with a firm? Did your lawyer ever do that? Insurance agent? Doctor? Real estate agent? I’m guessing not. I’ve never had it happen to me personally. So it’s a very easy way to make a great first impression.
It’s like a sign of things to come. Your clients know right away, wow, this is going to be different. They’re professional, on time, organized, systematic, and they really go the extra mile. It really gets them excited about what else is in store for them. Just make sure that before you start implementing this, the rest of the experience is as on point and impressive as this one. As they will definitely be getting their hopes up about working with you. So you just want to make sure that expectations are the same as reality.
Let Your Firm Be the Final Destination
Clients remember, well, all people remember, most about what happens at the beginning and at the end of experiences. The first impression and the last impression are what will stick out most in their mind, as long as the middle was mostly uneventful. So doing what you can to start the project off on the right, enthusiastic, hopeful foot and ending it on a wonderful note, are huge keys to success. So go out, work your tail off to get your process organized and systematic, and then find a way to really welcome your clients in a way that lets them know, we’re working with _____ firm and we couldn’t be more excited! Let working with you and receiving that signature gift, be their goal. Let working with you be a true destination.
If you’d like even more ideas on how to provide the kind of client service that gets you higher fees and profits, visit the Client Service Consultation page to find out more!