If you want more clients, the goal of every existing client relationship should be to get your clients to tell stories about their “magical” experience working with you.
You don’t have to win your case, or save them from the devastation of a recession, or get that old spot out of the carpet, but you do have to provide an experience that shows you care deeply about them and their situation.
When your contacts with clients are simply what they expect, they have no reasons to tell stories about your service. You’re doing what you’re supposed to do. There’s no story in that. Stories come from the extremes: either extraordinary, magical experiences or terrible, disastrous experiences.
Our washer quit on us at the same time as the central air conditioning (but that’s another story). We purchased a new washer and dryer from a major department store chain for delivery last Saturday. On Friday evening, an automated phone call informed us that delivery would take place between 1:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. So, on the hottest day of the year so far, we stayed home in the heat to await the arrival of our new machines.
When at 4:00 p.m., there was neither a delivery nor a phone call, I called the 800 number. Three things happened on that call: I was required to go through a litany of personal information to be certain I was authorized to speak on my own behalf; I was told “We’re sorry for your inconvenience”; and I was informed that the delivery men were running late, but were on their way.
At 6 p.m. I called a second time, having heard nothing from the company and having received no delivery. After the litany and the standard apology for my inconvenience, I was first told that the delivery men had tried to make the delivery, but no one was home. When I protested (it would have been hard to miss a big truck in our driveway or a phone call requesting our whereabouts), the story changed. The new story was that we had been number 9 on the schedule, but they skipped 9, 10 and 11, because 12 and 13 were closer. But, they assured us, we would receive our delivery.
At 8 p.m., my wife Hannah called. After the litany and the apology for our inconvenience, Hannah was told they had finished their deliveries for the evening. Hannah’s response was—how do I put this?—less than friendly, and seemed persuasive, because they promised they would get the truck to us.
At 10 p.m., however, I called again, and after the customary preliminaries, I was told that they simply were done for the day. Then, the call center employee presented me the ultimate irony—an offer to reschedule delivery–another opportunity to spend a day waiting and hoping for a delivery. I cancelled the order immediately.
We spent an entire day at home in sweltering heat, waiting for a delivery that never came, but what was worse was that not once did they call us. They still haven’t called to find out why we cancelled or to apologize for the terrible service or to tell us they’re processing the refund.
In my new book, Become A Client Magnet, I devote several pages to the importance of communication. If just once, someone had called to say they were running late and offered to reschedule, the story I’d be telling now might have had a happy ending.
Clients expect Respect, Empathy, Action and Communication, all of which lead to Trust (note the clever acronym, “REACT”) which, in turn leads to loyalty and referrals. Without proactive communication the stories your clients tell about you will not be the kind you want them to be telling.
Give your existing clients an experience that results in powerfully positive stories and you’ll attract plenty of new clients. Check out Become A Client Magnet for ideas on how to create that experience and, in the meantime, keep REACHING…