Love is cherished in our culture. Wouldn’t you agree? Romance is everywhere, not just at February 14th. Think back three months, if you will. Christmastime is filled with romantic feelings as we all want to feel the magic of love during the holidays.
Let me ask you a question. What is your favorite place to hang out?
For me, it is an independent coffee shop here in town. I don’t know how many people I have sent to the little coffee shop. I go there in the morning to get an Aeropress and visit with the baristas and some of the regulars.
On Friday nights, they have live music with local musicians. It is a great place to hang out, listen to music, and stay out of trouble.
What does it take to get customers to fall in love with your business? That is the topic we are discussing today.
One caveat I want to make before I start. While you want to do everything you can to make your client happy with your business, completely eliminating your identity and values to do anything they want you to do is not the way to do that.
Your business is YOUR business as Erin Flynn says.
While this idea of creating a business completely around what your clients want might work for large companies, it doesn’t work for small companies, and it certainly doesn’t work for solopreneurs.
Clients will respect you and appreciate you more if you run your business. Your business is client focused, but not all about them.
This is especially true if you are a solopreneur or running a small shop.
With that in mind, let’s look at some ways to help your clients fall in love with your business.
Love them first!
A lot of people advocate for having a target audience, an ideal client, or a find a niche, but there are issues with that if you aren’t careful.
If your values don’t align with your target’s values, you can end up with a nightmare. So, if you find and work with your ideal client, you will love them and their projects. This is often reciprocated.
I like the phrase used by marketing expert Samantha Hartley. She says you should find your perfect client.
Hartley counsels to Prepare a perfect client portfolio,
Thoroughly list the qualities you’re looking for so you get clear on them, can describe them to a third party (like a referral source) and will recognize them when you see them.
She has a list of 5 non-negotiables that are important to her, and I think it is important for us to understand our personal and business values. Working with someone who doesn’t share those values don’t make them bad, it just makes them wrong for us.
If the values don’t align, we will not love our client’s project. Not loving your client’s project leads you feeling used, stressed, and resentful.
Be a professional in how you handle your business and your clients will love you. Why? There are three main areas to be a professional and it will make yours and your client’s lives a whole lot better.
Erin Flynn is right when she talks about having a professional way of communicating. Think about it, your client is paying you several thousand dollars. They do want to hear from you. Flynn says,
The last thing a client wants from you is radio silence. How would you feel if you paid someone a few thousand dollars to start work, and then didn’t hear from them for weeks? Probably not too good, and you’d start getting antsy and wondering if she ran off with your money to go sip mai-tais on the beach.
Build in a professional way of communicating with your client, be consistent, and follow up.
What can we say about onboarding? Onboarding covers a variety of issues setting expectations, education of how you work, communication protocols and more.
It’s important to have a good onboarding process. Consider this from Jennifer Bourn,
A clear onboarding process is proven to increase confidence and satisfaction, improve productivity and performance, and reduce stress and confusion — and not just for clients, but for service providers too.
What client wouldn’t be ecstatic with a project that includes improved productivity and performance and reduced stress? If they aren’t happy with those things, they are the wrong client for you. You want clients who value productivity and performance because that means profitability.
One of the things that clients need as much as you is boundaries. If you are extremely available, it becomes too easy to text you or send a Facebook message (guilty as charged!).
A client who is an ideal client is one who wants to know where those boundaries are so they can do right by you and make the process easier. Can you become friends with clients? Sure you can! Just make sure you set business boundaries in your working relationship.
Boundaries are important. As Curtis McHales says,
Boundaries are one of the best things you can institute in your life. Without boundaries around our work we’ll need to start making so many more decisions and we have a limited pool of will-power to use on our decisions.
This is a balancing act. One puts the focus on yourself and forces the client to play by your rules, but in the end, it ends up being for the best. You will receive respect from your client.
Yes, we are working for our clients, but it’s our business- they are not our boss. It’s our responsibility to set the boundaries and work with people who respect them. Freelance to Freedom
Provide great customer service
It goes without saying that providing good customer service is a given. Why deliver quality work to follow it up with rudeness?
Excellent customer service creates loyal customers for life; customers who are willing to refer your business to friends, family and colleagues. Providing this type of excellent customer service starts with a genuine desire to delight your customers, but you also have to think beyond selling your products or services. Alyssa Gregory, The Balance
Gregory offers nine ways to ensure good customer service to your customers.
If you are looking for a roadmap to improving customer service, SurveyMonkey has a great article with six really good tips.
HelpScout recently posted a monster post on customer loyalty. They observed,
In a world where your competitors are only a click away, customer loyalty really is the new marketing. Today’s customers have access to an endless amount of information about your business, and research shows that they’re ready and willing to stop dating around and stick with companies who go above and beyond to create a fantastic customer experience.
There is no foolproof way to make your customers love you. People are fickle. One moment you are the best thing since the dawning of age and the next day you are reprehensible. As in most relationships, a customer relationship can have its ups and downs.
The best you can do is try your hardest to do the things that matter, deliver good service, be professional, communicate well, and work with customers you love.
If you do these things you can build loyalty. When you build loyalty, you create customer love.