We invoice all of our clients monthly… but recently took on a new client that wanted to pay with a credit card. No problem. I called the credit card processing company we had used in the past to make sure that we could accept AMEX, to go over the monthly amount and to let them know we’d be processing the card manually.
You would have thought I asked for nuclear missile launch codes! I was going to have to send in an exception request every month, talk to the “limits department” and so on. What a ridiculous pain-in-the-a**!
Coincidentally, I had coffee with my bookkeeper that same afternoon and told her the story. She suggested I look into Square.com – the company that provides that little device that merchants use to take credit cards with their iPhones, etc.
Holy cow! What a difference.
I went online, signed up and was ready to go in – literally – 5 minutes. I processed the client’s credit card the next day. Easy, fast, seamless… and it worked perfectly! The folks at Square.com simply “get it” when it comes to the customer experience.
It was good reminder that we all have barriers that can make things difficult for our clients… not intentionally, but we get so bogged down in creating and delivering products & services that we forget to step back and make sure that all the touch points in the process of creating and delivering those products & services are customer-friendly.
So, step back and ask yourself a few questions. Better yet, ask some of your clients (and ex-clients) these questions:
Is it easy to find things on our website?
The first thing an interested sales prospect is going to do is check out your website. Make sure it’s easy for them to see what you do, how they benefit and why they should choose your firm… that is, make it easy for them to find the reasons why they should hire you. Also, if they have questions, is it easy to get in touch with you and are you VERY responsive?
Is our capabilities presentation clear and compelling?
Deliver your capabilities presentation to an outside third party for some objective feedback. If your presentation is hard to follow… a new client is not likely to follow either. And if you have salespeople, have them deliver the presentation to you like their job depended on it… because it should.
Is our proposal easy to follow?
Do you have a tight and to-the-point proposal that lays out your plan in 4-5 pages… or is yours filled with page-after-page of banal facts and sales pitch? Skip the pitch… you’ve already sold them – now you need to close the deal.
Are there any policies getting in the way of working with us?
If your front-line employees ever say things like, “That’s not how our process works” or “That’s not my job,” then ‘policies’ are a problem for your firm. Look at what you do and how you do it through the eyes of your clients.
Do we have easy and open communications during projects?
Are you providing regular project updates? Is your PM/PD easy to get hold of (by phone, not just email)… and if not, has a back-up been assigned? Do you take advantage of the role a (non-operations) Account Manager can provide? If the client has a problem, has a senior executive been assigned as the buck-stops-here solution?
What about paying us?
Are your invoices & statements easy to understand? Do you send them out on a timely basis? Do you list an accounting contact on the form to go to if there are any issues?
Clients will keep coming back to give you their business for three reasons…
- You do good work
- They like the people on your team
- You make doing business easy
And in this case, “2 outta 3 ain’t bad” really IS bad.
Take the time to look over the continuum of all customer “touch points” with your firm, keeping this question in mind, “How do I make the customer experience easy?” Keep working toward that goal… and you’ll attract and keep clients for a long time to come.
Need an outside opinion on your ‘customer experience’ processes? Call us at (615) 415-3980 or send an email to info@HarpethMarketing.com.