Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We will carry your water

I had a client call and say that he needed to hire us to “carry his water”. At first, I thought he misdialed and thought that we were a pool service.
Google: "carry the water" for someone means do something (usually hard and unpleasant, yet necessary) for someone, on their behalf and instead of them whereas normally they would be supposed to do it themselves.
Communication. It's the cornerstone of any good relationship.  

The ads you create, the brochures you distribute, the website you showcase - all convey a message, telling your company's story about who you are and what you stand for, and letting customers know just what you can do for them.

A greater level of interaction is the key to long term success.  You must craft and implement ideas that promote a truly outstanding experience for your clients. These innovations or brainstorms don't need to require an increase in expenditures - but whatever actions you do take should always incorporate a message of care. You can do the very same things you've done before - albeit with a smart twist - a true consumer focus.

A man walked into the airport and hurried over to the counter. "We're so sorry, sir, but you've just missed your plane," the polite clerk informed him. The man, distraught, said, "What am I going to do? I have an appointment halfway across the world a half hour after my plane is supposed to land. I'm going to lose this client - and it's a big one."

The ticket agent didn't just shrug and move on to her next customer. She asked the man for his client's phone number, called the client on the spot, and explained that due to an unavoidable delay, the man wouldn't be able to make the appointment on time - and rescheduled the meeting!

This agent was a great communicator, for she let her customer know that he wasn't just one more face or another plane ticket, but rather a person, one with a problem. She truly felt his frustration, and found a way to help him out.

By thinking out of the box, she provided the ultimate service - and with expert communication, set the groundwork for a long and fruitful customer relationship. She carried his water.

Here are a few tactics that'll increase customer loyalty and generate positive feedback.
  • Think differently: In addition to solving customers problems by selling them your own service or product, why not coordinate a strategic alliance with other related business that can benefit customers via convenience and yourself through commissions for every sale. If you sell copy machine paper for example, why not bundle up with the ink toner company down the street for a joint blowout sale?
  • Think creatively: Don't just wait for your clients to come calling - spark their interest by sending them a customized birthday or holiday card along with a complimentary coupon and offer.
  • Just think: Take all the personal information you know about a customer and use it to create a customized sales letter addressing their specific needs - be it for their family, personal lifestyle or hobbies. Change the way you view making sales from a passive action to a strategically intelligent process.
So, when deciding how and when and what to market, keep in mind that you're speaking to your customers and it's a worthwhile investment to augment your communication skills. Everyone can use help carrying their water.

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