As a new business owner, start-up or consultant looking to break through the clutter, developing a strong reputation for your service is job one. To develop a great service brand, not only do you have to provide an outstanding “service”, you also have to deliver outstanding “customer service”. Done consistently over time—you will begin to frame a strong reputation and build a brand that stands for quality.
If you’ve done your due diligence in identifying what makes you different in the marketplace through the brand development process and have created a professional website, here are 6 secrets to keep in mind when developing a great service brand.
1. Show some enthusiasm
As a service company, customers come to you looking for answers. No matter what their product or service is, showing a little enthusiasm at the first point of contact can go a long way. Remind yourself or your employees to smile when taking calls. The smile comes through on the other line. Laugh a little, have fun and make a friend. Be excited to talk to them! Your enthusiasm should also come through in your social media and blog posts.
70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated – McKinsey.
2. Be proactive
When a project is underway and your customers are asking for things, get ahead of them by thinking through next steps. For example, don’t wait for them to ask where things are, send an email first thing in the morning letting them know where you’re at and how things are going. We use a project management tool like Basecamp to communicate with our clients on a daily basis. The calendar feature allows the client to know exactly what is going on and when they can expect their deliverables. It keeps everyone’s communication documented and organized. If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist.
3. Be responsive
Don’t wait three days to get back on a request. This goes without saying. Respond to your customers as fast a possible or within 24 hours. Make sure to set expectations on what your office hours and typical response times are. The single biggest problem in any given relationship is poor communication. Communicate well and you will build a great service brand.
55% of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better service
– Defaqto research.
4. Anticipate needs
If a customer or client emails you a question, respond not only with the answer but with whatever they may be asking for. It may be a file or a document. Think a head. This creates a positive impression on your customers and shows them you’re on the ball and reminds them why they spent top dollar on your service firm.
5. Delight your customers
To delight your customers and turn them into promoters of your service, continue to solve their problems long after the project is ended. This is a key aspect to a methodology we follow called inbound marketing. By continuing to solve their problems through relevant content, you remain top-of-mind which helps when they are asked for referrals or have other work for your service company to do. It costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one – Bain & Company. By delighting your customers, you preempt the competition and save on marketing costs. Do some industry research and provide them with insights they will find helpful. By continuing to answer their questions, you will delight your customer and turn them into promoters of your brand.
6. Meet your deadlines
I hear of so many horror stories from clients who’ve worked with a service companies in the past that didn’t deliver on what they promised. Shocking as it is, most consultants and service firms miss their deadlines. If you want to create a successful service brand, stop missing deadlines.
A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. – White House Office of Consumer Affairs.
To build an outstanding service brand, show some enthusiasm, be proactive, be responsive, anticipate your customer needs, delight them by continuing to solve their problems and above all else, meet your deadlines![vc_separator type=”large” dh=”1″ color=”light” icon=”” align=”left” margin-bottom=”40″ margin_top=”40″]
By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.