This blog post is the second in a series of two. If you would like to read the first post, please click here.
Continuing on last week's theme of creating an amazing client experience, we'll look at five more ways you can be the most amazing yoga instructor, photographer, event planner or other service professional your client has ever dealt with.
6. Take a step back.
Every once in awhile, take a step back from your business and look at it through the lens of the client. Where are your shortcomings? Are you always pushing back scheduled meetings to later times? Or taking days or even weeks to respond to emails? Are you always consistently 10 minutes early? Do you bring your client things they might need for their session with you, like a bottle of water? Do they like this, or would they rather bring their own water in a re-usable container?
Only you can answer these questions. These are merely a teaser list to get you started. It doesn't matter if you think of everything, but at the end of a 30 minute brainstorming session taking a look back at your business, you should be able to come up with 2-3 things you can cut out of your business or improve for your clients.
7. Look for ways to delight your clients.
Zappos is a favorite case study of business schools for a good reason. There's a lot they get right when it comes to customer service. For example, they are constantly looking for ways to delight their clients, er, customers. One way they do this is by expediting shipping on certain orders, or their famous billion dollar loss party, where all items on 6pm.com were listed at less than $50 (even some items that retail for $2000+). Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh made the unconventional decision to let it go, and shipped all orders as scheduled-- even the $2000+ goods that had been purchased for $49.
I'm not advocating you throw money away on clients-- there are lots of great ways to delight your clients. For example, one of my students recently was 41 weeks pregnant. She got a foot rub in savasana. Does everyone? No. But if you're 41 weeks pregnant and making the effort to do a yoga practice, you are going to get a ton of extra attention from me. Another example are the notes I send to clients. We all know to write thank you notes, but what about the random thought or note of encouragement? Born out of my stationery obsession, this is a great way to surprise someone at a low cost and with just a little bit of time invested.
8. Use your friends.
Use your friends to be the all-seeing eye for your business. Give them a private yoga session, coaching session or shoot a family photo session and see what they have to say about working with you. Even if they're friends with you, if they have never worked with you before, there will be a palpable shift in the dynamic at some point if both parties are taking it seriously.
You can also use your friends to find out what their experience is on your website. Give them some simple tasks to do, like email you, book a session with you, or find out more information about your services and see how long and complicated it is for them to do so. Ask them what they like and don't like about their website and try to make improvements from there.
9. Consistency is key.
Clients will expect you to be you, to be you, to be you, all the way through and through. If you teach a nice serene yoga class and then they run into you in the grocery store, where you're rude and in a hurry, how do you think they will feel the next time they come to your class? Will they even come back to your class? It's unlikely, and it's why being consistent is so essential. The key is not to mold who you are to fit your yoga teacher persona, the key is to fit your teaching persona to fit you.
10. Own your mistakes.
If you are doing something, the chances that you are making mistakes increase proportionally. It's not a bad thing, it's just something we have to understand and accept. If you are late to a client meeting, offer your client a discounted or complimentary session for the next time they meet with you (depending on how late you are). If you have to cancel a client session, you better make it up to them tenfold. If you make a mistake like forgetting to send them an important document, apologize, then own the mistake instead of blaming it on traffic, your printer, your dog, etc. It is much more professional and it's okay to be human. Your client will make mistakes too and leave you hanging sometimes- it just happens and it is a reminder to forgive others when they err.