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On simple ways to impress

Dear Profit Prophet,

Any suggestions on how to “wow” clients of a service-related business (like mine) where there is no physical product and business is often over the phone or via email?

Absolutely. And it goes for businesses that are face-to-face as well.

For some reason, many businesses go to great pains to mimic each other and produce one similar transaction experience after another. Not all, but some.

Want to be exceptional?

Create a culture for your team where the ordinary is sacred. It can be done. Picking up a phone and answering similar questions over and over can actually be interesting if your people learn how to listen well and with all their heart. They can listen so they respond personally and literally know they can make a difference in that person’s day. Hire people who care about that.

Teach associates how to intuit who is on the other end to drive the conversational process. Will it help to make the call chatty, interested or just efficient?

Tell guests how long you will put them on hold and get back to them even if you are incomplete to tell them how much longer it will be.

Dump any automatic answering systems that can’t get the customer directly or on queue to a live person. Companies think they are savvy by eliminating the “0” to get to a representative. That’s putting your processes before your customer, and it drives them mad. Savvy, shmavvy.

Listen to your on-hold messaging for 15 minutes. Does it soothe you, amuse you or make you want to jump out of your skin? Really, how valuable is the chatty marketing to people who are already turned off by the wait time and tinny-sounding music?  

Hire people because you can hear them smile on the phone.

Keep emails short and on point. Follow through as promised, and say thank you.

Create an emotional goal as well as a strategic goal for your ambassadors (the people who represent you).

And then send your competitors a sympathy card.

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This business advice column speaks to the soulful side of business. It is designed for companies and individuals that want to excel, stand out, and realize ROWM: A Return on What Matters. It is based on the book from the business superhero The Profit Prophet. Please send your questions (may be anonymous) to [email protected].

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