Making a Customer a Client

“A G’day Goes a Long Way” 

Confusion seems to abound in today’s market when it comes to identifying what is “best practice” in terms of customer service. We live in a business age where conversation is almost viewed as obsolete. We email, SMS, Tweet or just “Google It”. A mobile phone, is not actually a phone, it is a mobile digital communication device that removes the need to ever actually call anyone.

Many readers may believe these traits are isolated to the Generation Y brigade, but the reality is that, by default and necessity, the technological age has affected all of us. Parents and Grand-Parents have smart phones, and birthday wishes arrive via ‘IM’ or Facebook.

The proliferation of internet based e-commerce companies combined with the explosion of the one-stop corporate retailers since the 70’s has forced a change of focus from the customer and service to products and pricing, and whether you can buy it on “the net.” A customer is just an email address or mobile phone number.

So what can we do as small and medium sized businesses in order to combat the “Big Box” corporate retailers, global conglomerates and the internet? Go “Old School!”

Multi-national corporations view customers as numbers of ‘door clicks’ that they lure into their store or business, sell them some product or service, regardless of what they actually may need or want, get the money and send them out the door. The days of the “Customer is Always Right,” or “KYC: Know Your Customer,” are long gone… or are they?

We can choose to implement behavioural change strategies in our businesses to convert our customers into clients. Clients are not just consumers, but supporters of our ‘team’, more internal than external stakeholders, where building strong, trusting relationships, and friendships based on honesty and integrity, will see them return again and again to do business with a friend.

Behavioural change strategies are just fancy lingo for getting management and team commitment to do things differently, in your business. Creating those competitive advantages and differentiating your business can sometimes be a simple as going back to the fundamentals that have defined customer / client service for decades.

A few suggestions on potential key steps that we can all take to improve our service and our successes in making a customer a client:

  1. Acknowledge; smile and say g’day,
  2. Approach & Introduce; make it personal,
  3. Listen;  give them time to tell you what they want and need,
  4. Assist; see that all their requirements are addressed,
  5. Confirm; that all their expectations and requirements were met.

Oh, and I almost forgot… don’t forget to say G’day!

Sean McIntyre, Resurg General Manager