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Get Them to Tell Stories About You

Happy customer

A while ago, I dropped into a well-known department store to buy a blue shirt. There was a good selection in my size and they were more or less in order on the shelves and in the bins.

I found a shirt in my size. The sales assistant was friendly and professional. She told me the shirt was on sale. The entire experience was satisfactory.

But I didn’t tell anyone I saw that day about my satisfactory experience. It was out of my mind as soon as I left the store. I also didn’t decide to make that store the one place I would always buy my shirts, or anything else.

I was completely satisfied. Why didn’t my experience render me an engaged, passionate, loyal, referring customer? The lesson is the same for a retailer as it is for an entrepreneur or a professional:

Satisfying your clients isn’t enough to turn them into loyal, passionate referral advocates. It’s the minimum you need to do to keep a client. If you want more, you need to get them to tell stories about you.

Contrast that experience to this one: Several years ago, my wife Hannah and my daughter Madeline Blue went shopping for a prom dress. They found the perfect blue gown in Nordstrom. But when they opened the bag to show it to me that night, there was a ball-point ink line on the dress. It was Thursday night and the prom was on Saturday night. Hannah had a retail store of her own, and no time to make the exchange—if an exchange was even possible.

Friday morning Hannah called Nordstrom from her own store. She was frantic. The department manager advised her that there were no more blue gowns in my daughter’s size, but offered to call around to other Nordstrom stores to see if she could find one.

Hannah hung up the phone and anxious about what she was going to tell my daughter and what they were going to do with one evening left to find another gown. But, a half hour later, the department manager called her back with the news that she had located the identical gown at another location.

Then, she gave Hannah a story to tell. She offered to leave her store at the end of her day, drive the twenty miles to the store where she had located the gown, and bring it to Hannah’s place of business to make the exchange–another 20 miles in a different direction. My daughter had her blue gown, and Nordstrom had another loyal customer, willing to tell this story over and over again.

To engage your clients, and to keep them loyal and willing to be your referral advocates, you need to take every opportunity to give them stories to tell. Doing a satisfactory job for them isn’t enough. Create a Client Service Plan that distinguishes you from your competitors. Serve coffee and pastries on a silver platter. Find out where they’re celebrating their anniversary and have champagne or dessert delivered to them at their table.

Let me help you and your team create a Client Service Plan that will earn you loyal clients.

And, in the meantime, keep REACHING…

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