Clients vs. Customers
Customers are people and companies that we have transactional interactions with.
Clients are people and companies that we connect with and build a relationship with so we can provide Extraordinary Service.
Great companies that achieve long-term success have well-documented Client Service Strategies and a standard of excellence and expectation that each member of the team is expected to follow to ensure Extraordinary Service.
Client Service Strategies come from Moments of Truth which are the elements that make up the client service experience. Retailers and Hospitality companies try to emulate it in each of their locations by using a Master or Gold standard checklist to ensure consistency and high standards are maintained. Marriot Hotels and Starbucks are two companies that follow checklists to ensure quality control.
Seven Moments of Truth for offering Extraordinary Service
- The Greeting
- Collecting Information (asking questions)
- Storytelling – paint an awesome picture
- Delivery – what they expect
- The Goodbye/ Thank you
- The Follow-up
- The Recovery (if needed)
Let’s take a closer look at the first 3:
The greeting is your first point of contact. I recently did a client service seminar for a retail company and asked them how long a client should wait to be served. They all agreed on 10 seconds. So, I had them sit in silence for 10 excruciating seconds, and after the exercise they agreed that even 5 seconds was too long. 10 seconds felt like 10 minutes when waiting.
Clients expect to be acknowledged and greeted in a timely and polite manner. Customers don’t. Customers are seeking a quick and easy transaction. Visit your local Walmart or grocery store for examples of what Transactional Customer Service looks like.
More and more companies are now seeing that collecting information is so critical to connecting and understanding their clients. At Lowes, they want your email and postal code, at Starbucks they want your name, spelled correctly or not, so they can call you by your first name and not by your drink. Collecting information like names, reasons for visit, and what people like or don’t like allows the company to connect with their clients, and makes the interaction more about the client and less about the offering being sold. Clients love this.
Once we have collected the information, we now have the ability to paint an attractive picture or create a desirable offer for the client based on what they have told us they like, want, need and desire. Without information, we can still paint a picture or make an offer, but the offer then becomes more about us and less about them because we’re presuming to understand what they want rather than knowing.
Look at your business. Do you have a Client Service Strategy around all 7 Moment of Truth? Can everyone, everywhere get the same Extraordinary service from anyone in your organization? With the rapid expansion of e-commerce and on-line shops, converting customers into clients is critical.