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Turn Your Clients Into Fiercely Loyal Advocates

So, you want your clients to be fiercely loyal advocates for your business or practice. You want them to shower their friends and associates with enthusiastic testimonials and shower you with unsolicited referrals. It happens for other professionals; why not you? Compare these two experiences:

Awhile ago, I went into the Men’s Department of a well-known department store, to find a blue dress shirt.

Most of the stock was in order, the way it’s supposed to be, and there were several choices. I picked out the shirt I wanted and found a nearby register where, after waiting only a minute or two for the couple ahead of me, a pleasant sales associate took my shirt, told me it was on sale, processed my credit card, put my shirt in a bag with the receipt and thanked me for my business.

A very pleasant experience! Was I satisfied? Yes. But did I rush off to my workshop and tell everyone how wonderful my excursion was? Well…no. Did I tell the story to people I met over the next few weeks? No. If I needed another shirt–or anything else, for that matter–would I choose to drive out of my way to come back to this store, rather than visit a nearby competitor? No.

How could I claim to be satisfied and then not show this store the least bit of loyalty? That’s an easy one to answer: Satisfying customers or clients is not enough to make them loyal advocates. It’s the minimum level of service that every business or practice should give a client and it is not powerful enough to attract either fierce loyalty or enthusiastic testimonials.

When you satisfy a client you can take comfort in the belief that he or she is not out there assailing your reputation, but that’s about it.

So, then, what do you have to do to win fierce loyalty and enthusiastic testimonials?

Compare this story about my wife’s retail experience several years ago at Nordstrom:

It was two days before my daughter Madi’s High School Senior Prom, and she still didn’t have a prom gown. So, it was off to the mall for a last-minute, last-ditch attempt to find something for her to wear. At a Nordstrom Department Store, they found the perfect blue dress. It fit perfectly, so they paid for it and brought it home with a great sense of accomplishment and relief. But when they unzipped the bag to admire their acquisition, my wife, Hannah, spotted a blue ballpoint pen ink line on the dress, probably put there while the sale was being made—and the joy of the moment was immediately replaced by panic.

As soon as the store opened the next morning, Hannah called Nordstrom and told them what had happened. The sales associate she spoke to went onto the floor to look for a replacement gown, but returned to the phone to report that the only gown available in that style in my daughter’s size was beige. Of course, this would never do!

But then, the woman asked Hannah if she could put her on “hold.” A manager came on the phone a minute or two later, promising to check other area Nordstrom stores for a blue gown. Within an hour, she telephoned, advising Hannah that she had located the exact same blue gown in a store about 20 miles away. She offered to pick up the new gown from the other store, drive to Hannah’s workplace and make the exchange that afternoon.

By the end of the day, Madi had her blue gown and Hannah had a story to tell. She became a fiercely loyal advocate for Nordstrom, dropping unsolicited enthusiastic testimonials wherever she went.

The difference in these two department store experiences is in the level of service. The first experience was satisfying, but there was nothing “magical” about it. The Nordstrom experience, on the other hand, was sufficiently magical to compel Hannah to tell stories about it. Would the first store, given the same opportunity, have provided the same level of service? Possibly, but it is not likely.

Fierce loyalty and enthusiastic testimonials are generated by a positive experience–an experience sufficiently “magical” that your clients want to tell stories about it.

Take a look at the experience your clients are receiving when they work with you. Is it positive? Is it magical? Will they be telling stories about it? If you can’t answer these questions in the affirmative, make some changes. If you don’t know what to change, contact me now and we’ll talk about it.

In the meantime…KEEP REACHING

Sandy

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