As a new business owner, start-up or consultant looking to break through the clutter, developing a strong reputation for your service is job one. To develop a great service brand, not only do you have to provide an outstanding “service,” you also have to deliver outstanding “customer service.” Done consistently over time—you will begin to frame a strong reputation and build a brand that stands for quality.
If you’ve done your due diligence in identifying what makes you different in the marketplace through the brand development process and have created a professional website, here are 7 secrets to keep in mind when developing a great service brand.
1. Use StoryBrand to clarify your message
Most entrepreneurs and start up business owners don’t take the time to clarify their message. A clear message will help you grow your business faster and be more effective in communicating with your employees, customers and stakeholders. Confusion and distraction is at an all time peak in our culture. Most of your competitors will result to using cute and clever messaging only to find that those with clear messaging are winning more customers. Every day people are bombarded with information. Because they are being bombarded, they only listen to people (and brands) that communicate clearly. The best way to clarify a complicated message is to use the power of story with the StoryBrand framework.
2. Be proactive
When a project is underway and your customers are asking for things, get ahead of them by thinking through next steps. For example, don’t wait for them to ask where things are, send an email first thing in the morning letting them know where you’re at and how things are going. We use a project management tool like Asana to communicate with our clients on a daily basis. and The calendar feature allows the client to know exactly what is going on and when they can expect their deliverables. We also use HubSpot’s Tasks tool to automate reminders. It keeps everyone’s communication documented and organized.
If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist.
3. Be responsive
Don’t wait three days to get back on a request. This goes without saying. Respond to your customers as fast a possible or within 24 hours. Make sure to set expectations on what your office hours and typical response times are. The single biggest problem in any given relationship is poor communication. Communicate well and you will build a great service brand.
55% of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better service.
– Defaqto Research
4. Anticipate needs
If a customer or client emails you a question, respond not only with the answer but with whatever they may be asking for. It may be a file or a document. Think a head. This creates a positive impression on your customers and shows them you’re on the ball and reminds them why they spent top dollar on your service firm.
A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. – White House Office of Consumer Affairs.
5. Delight your customers
To delight your customers and turn them into promoters of your service, continue to solve their problems long after the project is ended. This is a key aspect to a methodology we follow called inbound marketing. By continuing to solve their problems through relevant content, you remain top-of-mind which helps when they are asked for referrals or have other work for your service company to do. It costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one – Bain & Company. By delighting your customers, you preempt the competition and save on marketing costs. Do some industry research and provide them with insights they will find helpful. By continuing to answer their questions, you will delight your customer and turn them into promoters of your brand.
6. Show some enthusiasm
As a service company, customers come to you looking for answers. No matter what their product or service is, showing a little enthusiasm at the first point of contact can go a long way. Remind yourself or your employees to smile when taking calls. The smile comes through on the other line. Laugh a little, have fun and make a friend. Be excited to talk to them! Your enthusiasm should also come through in your social media and blog posts.
70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated – McKinsey.
To build an outstanding service brand, clarify your message, show some enthusiasm, be proactive, be responsive, anticipate your customer needs, delight them by continuing to solve their problems and above all else.
7. Use a CRM
As your business grows it will be critical to start utilizing the features of the Customer Relationship Management System (CRM). A CRM will help you keep track of your customers, their interactions, and interactions with other members of your team. CRM will also give you valuable insights into your customer base as a whole.
There are many CRMs on the market, but we recommend HubSpot CRM. It’s free, it’s easy and it scales as your grow your business.
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