"Customer service is the art of leaving you better than I found you."
I once worked with a patient who didn't like me just because of the color of my skin and didn't make any efforts to hide this. Whether this was intentional or my presence triggered a bad experience in her memory, I have no idea. What I remember is the fear and trepidation I felt each time I approached her door to render a service.
I didn't know what she expected of me or how I could best serve her. I wanted to provide her a promise...that I would make her stay as enjoyable as possible during her vulnerable time.
But I didn't know where to start.
What this means as an online business owner.
Maybe you don’t have a brick and mortar business. Maybe you are just starting out online. Well, what I have come to realize is that people have different expectations of you––way beyond than what you promise to provide. They want to be served in a certain way and inherently possess an internal judge who assesses you and compares you to your competition.
Here’s the bad news: You can’t please them all.
But the good news is that you can certainly leave them better than you found them. And when your smiles are not there to help boost that first impression of you how do you leave people better than you found them?
1) Respect their time.
I have a pet peeve for relatives and friends who abuse relationship by sneaking in demands and requiring commitments at the last minute. In project management, this is called scope creep. If you didn’t chat about it in your initial discussion, and your contract doesn’t allow you to make additional changes, please do not suggest additional items.
In the same sense, respect how far your client is willing to go with you.
Whether they spend 3 hours or 3 months with you, respect how much thought they have put into the decision to transform their lives and business. It might not seem like a lot, but each scheduled time with a client is one that he/she has carefully made.
2) Acknowledge and work with your own strengths.
Something interesting happens when you acknowledge your strengths. When you get comfortable with who you are and choose to be, you are able to serve your clients from a place of knowledge, confidence, and transformation.
You not only bring your smarts; you bring compassion and a persuasive spirit with you. This only happens when you own your true gifts and abilities.
This means when I promise to write your content for you I'm not going to pretend that I can work with Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, or ConvertKit. I'm not going to include in my packages that I can go behind the dashboard to see which of your content pieces are working.
Honesty about what you can deliver is very important.
3) Add an unexpected extra.
If you are a service provider, an extra might be in form of a bonus or additional coaching calls. Extras can be anything, literally. The point is to promise to show up and fulfill your promise...with another incentive to making them take massive action.
My favorite way of adding unexpected extras to my copywriting clients these days is doing coaching calls to brainstorm several ways to leverage their copy and content strategy. After writing their copy for them, I spend 45 minutes on Skype to make sure we develop a unique message for that product so we can come up with an effective content strategy for the campaign.
Gifting my presence is my way of adding value and that unexpected extra to services that normally wouldn't require that much investment.
Your goal: think about how you can upgrade the experience your students and clients have with you. If they are past clients, you could send them complimentary cards to show your appreciation for the time spent with you.
4) Learn something new.
My "best" friends are people who I am constantly in awe of every time we meet. Not just people who I’ve known since I was in 12th grade. Not just my ex-band members. Because they have such a vast knowledge of all things interesting, a 5-minute conversation is enough to brighten my day and set me up for my next business or personal encounter.
Here's how it works:
If your client wants a 5-part autoresponder created and has a lead magnet (pdf) ready to go with it, you could offer to beautify the pdf by learning to use Adobe InDesign elements or Canva. You could say something along the lines of:
I noticed that you have your lead magnet ready to go. Are you currently working with a graphic designer? I just started a course in Adobe InDesign and would love to give your lead magnet a visual facelift... Benefits: your marketing materials will be more on brand and match your visual presence across your social media platforms..."
5) Be grateful and give sincere compliments.
Gratitude opens the doors to greater things. No, you cannot solve all client problems. And your clients will each produce different results––regardless of what your copy promises.
But when you take the time to appreciate your abundance, your flow, and your limits (yes, how far you can go), you subconsciously open a channel of ease and blessings.
Your clients feel this aura of abundance and draw closer to your brand. And as a Christian and business owner, gratitude is something I never take for granted.
Here are my top 5 ways of leaving your clients (or anyone) better than you found them. I'd like to read your tips so be sure to leave them in the comments below!
I write about the intersection of creativity, passion, and profit. I also share my own process towards doing my other creative endeavors via email. So, yup, you might wanna sign up to be my email buddy to know when the next post drops!