Posts Tagged 'referrals'

A New Standard Of Service

146A friend of mine recently asked me if I could refer a good attorney.  I have one that I have used with no real problems, and yet I hesitated to share the referral.  Referring someone is a very personal endorsement and your quality of referrals says a lot about you.  I had to ask myself why I chose not to send my friend to this attorney. 

The reason is not that he has done anything extraordinarily bad.  Sure he has been hard to get in touch with recently and hasn’t returned a few emails, but nothing unusual.  The reason is in fact that I have recently had such great experiences with some other professionals that it has sort of set a new standard of who I want to work with on a regular basis. 

For example, a call returned within 24 hours is absolutely good customer service for busy people.  In fact, most customers will not complain if they get a call back within the week.  And yet my financial advisor returns my call within an hour.  He returns emails within minutes. 

Another example is the idea of who the expert is.  Old school business says that it is normal for your doctor to tell you what’s wrong in a language you don’t quite understand, and then tells you what to do about it and you do it.  But wouldn’t you rather see a doctor that explains things in a way you understand well enough to re-explain it to your spouse, gives you several options along with his or her suggestion of which will fit your health needs best?  And what would you do if your doctor saw you within ten minutes of your appointment time and wasn’t in a hurry when he or she met with you?

Once you have had excellent experiences with other professionals, it’s just hard to go back and settle  for less.  I want to challenge you today to set the new standard of service in your line of work.  Be the one that people just can’t wait to tell their friends about.  Ask yourself how you can manage your time in a way that allows you to meet or exceed every time commitment you make.  I am watching business people with less experience steal market share from the old guard on a daily basis just by being willing to set a new standard in their line of work consistently.  Providing excellence in the ordinary is quite possibly the best and most affordable marketing tool you have & the good news is that you have the power to raise your own bar starting now.

Take Away:  Get creative about the little things you can do to communicate to your clients their importance to you.  Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself what it would take to make them tell their friends about how “over the top” you are.

Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.  ~ Charles Hadden Spurgeon

First phone call gets the biz

In sales?  Like leads?  My business is connecting seriously interested consumers with seriously committed business people.  Sales people today are spending an unheard of amount of time, energy and money to generate referrals or leads.  But would you be shocked if I told you that a majority of small biz people today spend the time and money to make their phones ring & never return the calls?  It’s true. 

I was recently at a real estate confernece and the speaker said that nearly 75% of all the referrals sent to real estate agents never get opened

Even with our own referral program, even after we interview, screen and find the very best people in the business who commit to serve our referrals, the most difficult challenge is getting them to simply call the referral quickly.  Now because we are so hard on quick call backs, we now have a group that carry blackberries and call the referrals back often within 15 minutes, often while they are still at their computer (talk about a good first impression); but getting biz people to understand the importance of an almost instant response to an online referral is still an uphill battle. 

The great news is this:  If you will do this one thing ten times better, you will win.  You can have an average website, an ordinary name for your business, and speak highly of your own competition…and if you will find a way to have someone from your office call back every missed call or email within 5 minutes, you will win the customer every time. 

What we have learned is that when your customer does not understand the technical in’s and outs of the thing they are calling you to do for them, whether it be investing, taxes, insurance, real estate, car repair, etc., they will use something they do understand to determine whether or not to trust you.  An instant call back = trust.  A slow call back or no call back = no trust.  And once trust is lost, it’s lost. 

The only call back that’s more important than a first impression call back is a complaint or concern call back.  When an existing customer calls you worried because the stock market is dipping or because their car is making a funny sound…don’t miss this…everything is on the line.  A quick and sincere call back makes 95% of their worry vanish because they were afraid you would disapear once you had their money.  A slow or non call back confirms their worst fear that you were only interested in their money.

If you’ll do this one thing 10x better, your customers will not be able to wait to tell their friends that they’ve finally found someone they can trust.  It is the most important single thing you can do to win or lose your customers and clients.

“The person who knows “how” will always have a job.  The person who knows “why” will always be his boss.”  – Diane Ravitch


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