Lacking a physical product, most service businesses fall into the pitfall of talking about themselves in their business messages and forgetting it’s the benefits delivered that interest clients. You might be ‘the best’, ‘the biggest’ or ‘been in business for 50 years’, and while this message may appropriately describe your commitment, intentions and background, your message is blind to the most important stakeholder…your customer.
Services only truly thrive through relationships.
The business of service delivery is complex:
- You will struggle to know the actual value of your service, as defined by your customer.
- You will find it challenging to determine the best mode of delivery for your services; especially in a rapidly evolving online world.
- Pricing services is difficult.
It is imperative that you realise from the onset that the yardstick for the quality of your service is not you; it is your customer. But you can be the key differentiator from your competitors. This realisation calls for you to prioritise on building a personal relationship with your clients. Having a solid relationship with your clients sets you on the path to not only understanding their needs but meet them as well.
The three steps to creating a great relationship with your customers
Find out what it is that your customers want.
Successful relationships are hinged on a thorough knowledge of the parties involved, and business relationships are no different. Be willing to study your customers. What challenges are they facing and what solutions can you offer for these problems? Go beyond knowing the service that your customers want and seek to find out how they prefer the service to be delivered.
Make an honest assessment of your services
To what extent are you meeting the needs of the customer? Do they walk away feeling that you have met all their expectations? Are they seeing value in what you deliver? What about their individual preferences? Are you flexible? Does your present service have the capacity to address your customers’ uniqueness? Identify the gaps in the services you are offering in relation to the needs of your customers. Right there lays your opportunity to build strong customer relationships.
Study your business rivals.
You cannot afford to be ignorant about the services your competitors are offering. How do their services compare to yours? Why would a customer prefer your competitor to you and vice versa? How can you place yourself to become the preferred provider? These questions are crucial because they will help you to boost the value of your services and consequently emerge the service provider of choice.
The power of testimonials
Once you have connected with your customer, you need to convince them you are you can deliver the value and benefits that they are seeking, but your word means little until a relationship of trust is developed. You must go the extra mile. This is where testimonials come in. Testimonials enable you to demonstrate to the prospective customer that you have the experience to not only solve their problems, but delight them with your service.
Here, we once again recognise the importance of strong customer relations. You will need to request your existing customers to give reviews about the services that you have offered them in the past. Capitalise on the crucial issues and use them to demonstrate your credibility. Do not be modest with the positive reviews. Display the testimonials for your prospective customers to see when they walk into your business or visit your website.
Testimonials will go a long way to create customers for your business even before they have met you. Remember, everyone wants to be associated with the winning team and testimonials are the clearest indication that you are the best in your niche.
Marketing and selling is changing, but people still buy from people, and businesses they know, like, trust and respect. And this is achieved through building strong relationships both online and off.