When I was responsible for call center operations, our customer service reps did not greet callers by identifying OUR company name. Instead they used our CLIENT’S company name. We always told our clients and prospective clients that in whatever we do, we operate as an extension of them. We didn’t want them thinking of us as a service provider. We wanted them to think of us as an organization within their own.
I carry that same philosophy through to my consulting clients. When we discuss plans, strategies, tasks, etc., I say things like “When WE do this…” and “OUR targets are…”
Customers as Advocates
Last week, I had the pleasure of being part of the presentation team for a client preparing to launch a new business venture. My role was to present OUR plan for moving forward. In that moment, I was not an independent business consultant, I was just part of the team.
During the presentation I said, “We want our clients to be our advocates for our services.”
If they heard nothing else of my portion of the presentation, the attendees heard that statement because multiple people mentioned it directly to me during breaks or referenced it during their own presentation.
Satisfied Customers are Fickle
At the end of the day, our host gave a book to everyone present. The two of us had not colluded on this at all but, as if by design, the book is Customer Satisfaction is Worthless – Customer Loyalty is Priceless, by Jeffrey Gitomer, whose basic premise is the same. You don’t want a satisfied customer. A satisfied customer is fickle and prone to go to a competitor next time.
You want a loyal customer because a loyal customer would rather fight than switch. A loyal customer will be your advocate, providing you with referrals, testimony, word-of-mouth marketing and repeat business.
The “Aha Moment”
The revelation for me personally is not so much that. I knew that. I strive for that. But what is eye-opening for me is that not only do I function as an extension of my clients, I want them to function as an extension of my business as well. It is a completely different perspective.
The Tools You Need
The Customer is one of 4 major goal categories identified in my simple, 1-page strategic plan template. Get the book Business is ART or subscribe to my online video training and receive a free, downloadable copy of the template.
Really think about how to create loyal customer advocates as opposed to satisfied customers. Build that in to your strategy and plans. Then do it.