Making yourself invaluable to your clients
Imagine providing so much value to your clients that they keep coming back for more and more business. They see you as an integral part of them team and don’t know how they ever got along before you arrived. Sound good? Well, it is possible if you are able to provide value to your clients that they cannot find elsewhere. It’s a fine line — you want customers to use you and only you, but doing it without any manipulation is the key.
Good invaluable and bad invaluable
There is a good invaluable and a bad invaluable. For example, in the early days of website development, content could only be changed through your website developer. They were invaluable, but it was a bad invaluable because customers resented not having control of their websites.
So the idea is to be able to provide value your customers are really happy with yet without resentment for the reliance on you.
Understand your customers, their needs, and what and how you engage with them
1. Be very clear on what it is that your customers’ want. Know your customers well — what their needs are, what’s important to them, and what’s not. That way you can tailor your products and services to be a good match for them.
2. Make sure that you have exactly what they want, or if you don’t have that, know where they can get it. You can be part of the solution even if you are not the total solution. For example, if you don’t perform a particular job but you have wide networks, you can refer on to either another colleague or someone else. If the customer gets a solution to their problem through you, then you will become their first port of call.
3. Perform your duties or deliver the product or service in a way that really benefits the customer. An example might be having a really fast turnaround time or response time. I’m working with a label company at the moment, and one of their great offerings is that they guarantee you will never run out of labels because they will speedy deliver in a couple of hours if need be. This is invaluable to many of their clients who work in manufacturing where a hold up is costly.
4. Be a pleasure and easy to deal with. Sometimes you become invaluable because you don’t add to someone’s stress or create a hassle. They can rely on you, and you are pleasant to deal with, a can-do person. There’s nothing worse than an inflexible response to a slightly out-of-the-ordinary request. It might be an invoice to be done a certain way or a slight change to a menu item, but a ‘sure, not a problem’ response endears you more than a ‘computer says no’ response.
5. Ask for feedback and modify as appropriate. To be an even better match to your clients, give them the opportunity to improve the way you work with them. Take the suggestions on board. And you can quickly integrate this feedback process on your website.
6. Look for ways to save people time. In this information age, keeping up to date can almost be impossible. Provide the right information to your customers that will help them save time or money. Add a service that will make your customers’ lives easy. Maybe it’s offering to write up a report or conducting a customer survey to help out.
7. Always be honest, even if it means losing business. To engender long-term relationships, it’s important to always consider what’s right for the customer. If your products or services are not the best solution for your customer, it’s best to be up front. Honest business relationships are invaluable!