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Gain a competitive edge

Antoinette Tuscano

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Close the gaps in your client service to increase your sales.

If a celebrity walked through the door of your business, how would you treat him? Would you greet him warmly? Would you offer him his favorite sparkling water? If he emailed you with questions, would you answer in 24 hours or less? And would you answer the email in some way that was different from the competition?

“Every ounce of your service would change if a celebrity showed up,” said customer service and marketing expert Geoff Ramm. “And that’s the gap you don’t realize exists within your team and within your business. If you fill that gap, your competition will never touch you.”

Go beyond cliches

Customer service will make or break your business. Yet most business owners are still using the same decades-old cliches of “go the extra mile” and “exceed expectations” to explain their client service philosophy. These are meaningless and won’t take your business to the next level of service, Ramm said. Exemplary customer service is what drives sales.

Ramm found an example of this when he was looking to buy a new car. In response to his inquiry about a car at a local dealership, the salesperson grabbed her phone and shot a customized video showing the features of the car he was interested in and emailed it to him. Then, because his young daughter loved a pink car displayed at the dealership, the salesperson sent him a video of that car as well. This was done not to make a sale, since his daughter was much too young to drive. Instead, it was simply to put a smile on his daughter’s face.

You don’t have to sell cars to send videos. If other financial advisors are sending out brochures and emails, you can stand out by sending quick, personalized videos to clients, Ramm said. Greet prospective clients by name and tell them you have some great ideas for helping them, or congratulate them on reaching a personal milestone, he suggested.

What’s your client service gap?

Most small-business owners know there’s a client service gap. Using a 10-point rating system, with 10 being the highest, “most people say they’re 7 or 8 for customer service. The level of service should be infinite,” Ramm said. Your clients should all be treated like your favorite celebrity.

Look at all the client touchpoints in your business and pick one or two to focus on to improve. As you master those, move on to another client touchpoint, Ramm recommended.

“Everything can be improved upon,” Ramm said. “Your competition is looking to do something better. So when you think you’ve cracked it, you haven’t.”


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