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Coaches’ Bonus: 18 Ways to Surpass Your Clients’ Expectations

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‘The purpose of a business is to create a customer and grow that customer’ – Peter Drucker

One of the best ways to create lifelong clients is to surpass their expectations whenever you connect with them, whether you’re working with them on a transaction or just checking in. Developing and maintaining the right connections is not always easy, but the rewards can be incredible. Your ability to meet, and exceed, your clients always-growing expectations better than your competition is vitally important and can pay off big time for your business over the long haul. If you want to create a business that is built to last, it’s crucial to develop a client retention strategy that includes surpassing your clients’ expectations.

  1. Always have your customer’s best interests at heart, regardless of whether you get a sale or not. Always put yourselves in your client’s shoes and give the highest level of service and respect just as you desire, and don’t let your short-term agenda get in the way of building a long-term relationship that will generate leads.
  1. Set realistic expectations. To be unclear is to be unkind: Let them know what to expect in terms of your response time. A quick email reply or check-in call saying when you’ll respond should work out well. At Buffini & Company we teach call blocking, which includes letting them know an appropriate morning and afternoon time(s) of when you’ll be returning messages each day.
  1. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Do what you say you will whenever you say you’ll do it. You’ve got to let your word be your word and stay true to your commitments if you want to keep clients over the long haul!
  1. Customize each client experience. You might have 100 clients with the same challenges, but each client wants to feel special. Come up with ideas to meet their specific needs; remember, one size does not necessarily fit everyone!
  1. Be genuine and transparent. It’s okay not to know everything. Let your clients know that you’re committed to learning and growing, and if you don’t know that answer right away, you’ll search for an answer or find someone who can help. No one expects you to know everything and they’ll respect you more than if you try to pacify them with a not-so-great answer. Be honest and realistic about anything and everything.
  1. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Presumption is deadly! Listen and meet them where they are first, and then you can move on to your agenda. The best way to do this is through consistent contact with your clients (face-to-face and voice-to-voice is the most optimal). Check-in calls and face-to-face appointments for coffees, etc. shows them that you’re willing to give them that personal time and attention that keeps them wanting to use you.
  1. Turn lemons into lemonade. When your client is frustrated about something regarding your services, listen to their concerns, acknowledge the challenge and then eventually ask them if they’re ready to get on the solutions side of things. Clients are usually forgiving if it is taken care of and made right within a reasonable timeframe. It may be an opportunity to show them that excellence is not perfection, and move them from a frustrated client to true advocates, if you handle the frustration/challenge in a professional way.
  1. Be grateful for their support. Always remember to never take your clients or their business for granted. Consider the businesses you really love working with and why. What do they do to continually receive your present and future business? What are some ways that you can duplicate these concepts and use them in your own business? A birthday or anniversary card or a gratitude initiative during the Thanksgiving season are a few winning ways to get and keep good, quality clients.
  1. Send personal thank you notes. Make sure they are handwritten and sent right away. Successful people like Peter Drucker send out 12 thank-you cards every day!
  1. Do the unexpected extras. Listen very attentively to them, take copious notes, and strive to meet those wants and needs that they relate to their hobbies, passions, interests, etc.
  1. Do client impression surveys to find out what your client’s perceptions of your service really is.
  1. Be a resource, and always make an effort to find things relative to what they’re into.
  1. Never exude indifference toward your clients. In a study on why people stopped dealing with a company, 68% said they left because of an attitude of indifference by the owner, manager or employees.
  1. Give back to your A+ clients as much as possible by rewarding them with personalized gifts for their referral efforts.
  1. Remember that clients are people, not numbers. Do your best to remember things, including little details about them. This will go a long way towards building your ongoing client relationship.
  1. Create loyalty to your brand. The Ritz Carlton is a leader in creating critical mass/brand loyalty because of its consistent quality, customer service and the values the company has in its mission statement. Brand loyalty increases your Customer Lifetime Value because it encourages repeat clients and extends the lifetime of your customers.
  1. Get social! Social networking gives you the chance to connect and engage with your customers at any time of the day.
  1. Create brand advocates. Brand advocates are highly satisfied customers who go out of their way to actively promote the products they love and care about. A brand advocate is much more influential than an average client-they are often called “Raving fans” and “Walking-talking billboards.”

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