Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SOMETIMES “LOVE” EQUALS MONEY

When the economy stinks, as it does now, and customers are backing off, companies have to look for every way possible to touch their hearts. And often doing caring little things is the magnet to attract them back.

This occurred to me when a broker who is trying to get my business, after an in-person pitch, sent me a handwritten thank-you note (via the mail) on a card with his name engraved on the front … and without the instantly recognizable logo of his famous company. Such intimacy touches the emotion and that, in and of itself, can power conversation. I think we are going to see more companies encouraging this type of thing.

Or another vendor whom we currently retain called not only to thank me for a recent meeting, but also to ask if I was satisfied with the way the meeting went. Did I have any questions? I don’t think it is routine for agencies or other service firms to do that following a client meeting. In this economy that extra bit of caring may save the business.

Our Quality Commitment Program falls in this category. We retain an outside auditor to call our clients two or three times a year to check on their satisfaction with four questions: Are you happy with our service? Are you getting value for your money? Do you like your team? Is there anything we should be doing that we are not doing now? This is done in good economies and bad, but it may have particular impact now.

Occasionally, I believe, we even have to give our clients gifts. That may be in the form of non-charged billable time, a contribution to their favorite charity, or a free strategic consultation. This helps build the relationship, which may even be more valued when times are tough.

The principle is that today, no matter what you do in performing client service, think beyond the service itself. Think about how you can positively touch emotion and do the nice things that will be remembered. Integrity and sincerity must be at the foundation, however.

Technorati Tags: client service, Quality Commitment, business, Makovsky + Company, communications, public relations

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