Imagine if you will, a bright, red telephone in your office. This telephone is the hotline to the most important person for your business – the client. Unfortunately, the phone cord has been cut. There is no way you can use this telephone to communicate with your client. Wouldn’t it make sense that you would want to get that telephone line repaired so it could connect you to the lifeblood of your company? Curiously enough, many small business owners do not think that way.
Frank Cooper, the author of many books on client service, makes it clear that without the client there is no paycheck for us, our managers or employees. If that is true, why would anybody not want to communicate with this most important person? Some of the excuses I’ve heard include:
“I don’t have the time – I’m too busy!”
“I don’t want them to know who I am – they might have a complaint.”
“”I didn’t think it was that important.”
(fill in your own )____________________________________
One way for you to consider communicating on a regular basis with your clients is to be visible. One of my past clients, Terry Johnson, Owner of Johnson’s Car Wash in Wayne, MI does this very well. Throughout the day, he makes it a point to walk around and stop and talk to his clients. He knows many of them by name. He listens to them and he hears what they like and he hears what they don’t like. By walking around and talking with his clients, he has developed a solid connection with the people that sign his paycheck.
Another major benefit is that his clients feel a connection with him. “They feel special because they talk to the owner.” Is that important? You bet it is. Remember, the number one reason why a client or customer will quit doing business with your company, is because they get a feeling that you or your staff do not care about them.
Your clients want to be listened to and they want to feel appreciated. By being visible to them, your clients have access to you and they like that.
Another way to communicate with your clients, is to watch their body language, and listen to their tone of voice as they interact with you, your managers and employees. Do they look and sound like they are glad to be interacting with you and your people, or do they look like they are only tolerating the process.
Of course there will be clients who don’t enjoy much of anything, but the question is, are the majority of your clients happy to do business with your company? If they are, what can you observe that is contributing to that successful experience? Is it the way the manager or employee is interacting with them? How about the ease in which they are served?
How about the environment? Is the area well lit, with pleasant music in the background? You be the judge. Take good notes and spend some time thinking about what is working and what isn’t? What should you continue to do; what should you stop doing or change?
To summarize here is a list of things to do that will help you communicate with your clients more effectively.
1. be visible
2. listen to your clients