6 (Not so Magical) Tips for Delighting Customers
Here are six simple, easily-applicable tips to help you deliver more than your clients expect.
In today’s fast-paced climate where information overload is the norm, powerful buzzwords attempt to imply superiority and grab our attention. These include super foods, ultra marathons, mega millions and magical delivery…wait, “magical delivery”? What is that? It’s not a buzzword—here at SingleStone it’s the standard we hold ourselves to when delivering for our clients.
Here are six simple, helpful, and arguably obvious tips to ensure your customers and business users feel that a project’s journey was successful, rewarding and, in the end, that they received more than they initially expected – and that’s magical! None of these require subject-matter expertise, and anyone can apply them.
Be Curious - Ask Questions
“There is no such thing as a dumb question, just dumb…” well, you get it. Generally, people like to share knowledge; it’s empowering. So ask questions, and ask them often! Be curious. It shows your end-users that you care, are working to produce a better outcome, and are doing what you can to better understand their business, needs, and desires.
Communicate Early and Often
One day before it’s due, would you like your bank to tell you that your mortgage payment is increasing? This is an obvious answer, but the point here is that when you know a problem is looming, get it out in the open as soon as possible. Putting a plan of attack together and actually having time to execute on it is a much stronger recipe for success than reacting when it’s too late. We know—it’s scary. No one likes bad news (late deliverables, shifting milestones, etc.). But you will be amazed at the difference in the tone of these conversations when potential snares are discussed early.
Earlier this summer Business Insider released an article where they found one common trait among successful (and rich) business people – they are all decisive. They feel empowered to make decisions. Think through the problem, weigh your options, make a decision, and move on. Often we get wrapped up in the minutia of decision-making, even if the issue at hand is small in nature and has little bearing on the project’s overall outcome.
Be Assertive and One Step Ahead
Have a pulse on overall project activities as well as the “big picture.” Anticipate what’s next in order to get in front of it. Henry Ford once famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." Whereas this may be a poor example of listening to your customers, it illustrates that Mr. Ford was ahead of them, understood their needs, and began crafting a solution. This will serve you well in combating, and avoiding, issues along the way.
Own it – Be Accountable
Regardless of your role on a project, YOU own a specific outcome. Feel authorized to make decisions within the realm of this role. Ask yourself “What am I doing to help this project be successful?” Own it. This inherently drives passion and quality, and clients will visibly notice that you care.
I will close with perhaps the easiest, but in my opinion, the most powerful technique for delighting your customers. With the pervasive convergence of mobility in both our professional and personal lives, society is becoming increasingly reliant and accustomed to instantaneous information. Project tasks, questions, and issues are no different. Let nothing “sit.” When someone sends an email with a question, answer it…quickly. When an issue is lagging (compliments of email), pick up the phone and call someone. There is nothing worse than holding project progress hostage to a simple question. This also shows your customers that you are available and there for them, and THAT’S a feeling they won’t forget. In the words of Maya Angelou, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”