There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about what really matters most to customers or clients. Regardless of your industry, many businesses find themselves competing not just on price, but on value provided to the client. This often comes in the form of service.
There are a million ways to go out of your way for others, be it a customer (internal or external), or a co-worker. Rather than telling you specific ways to go above and beyond, we’d like to give you a tool to help you evaluate where you want to put your energy. If you decide for yourself where you can have the most impact, you’re more likely to follow through and do it.
We’ve taken clients through this process because sometimes it’s easier to have an outside perspective when you’re trying to see through the weeds of your own situation. So you may find it helpful to ask someone to do this exercise with you.
- To begin, think about a specific person—maybe a client or customer, maybe a co-worker, maybe a prospect. The more you can describe this person in detail, the more accurate your assessment will be in the steps that follow.
- How does that person interact with you? Take a piece of paper, or whiteboard, or flip chart, or cocktail napkin, and literally chart out every touch point you have with that person. Start at the beginning, and work your way through the entire process with them. If it’s a customer, start with the moment they became a customer. What was that touch point—a contract? An agreement? Payment? From there, walk yourself through the life cycle of interactions with them, charting each one.
- Find your opportunities. In identifying all the ways you have contact with one specific person, you will begin to see places where you can take it up a notch. You might see gaps—places where you dropped the ball, or where there really should be follow up built in to the process, but there isn’t any currently. If you’re lucky enough to have a solid process already in place that always works exactly like it should, then I have to wonder if you’re human… But seriously. There is always room for improvement—those moments where you can up your game, and go above and beyond to make the relationship stronger.
- Create your plan. Identifying the opportunities isn’t enough. Action is where it’s at. Make a plan for how to start exploiting those opportunities. Systematize as much as possible so it becomes automatic. However, be careful that it doesn’t become impersonal. When I receive an automated email response every time I go through another step with a company I’ve hired for a service, my opinion of them goes down a little bit. Personal touch is what makes for great service. Systemizing does not have to mean automating.
Go get ‘em, tiger. And keep us posted on how it goes.