What’s Wrong with Giving Good Service?

What’s Wrong with Giving Good Service?

There’s nothing wrong with good old fashioned excellent service.

After all, American commerce is built upon it.

But when you want to differentiate yourself from your competitors, you have to find something else.

You need something bigger, better, more unique.

We’ve spent the last decade helping clients find their unique differentiators, which we then use as their messaging base.

And I want to share what we share with them.

Find Your Competitive Edge

– Write down all of your clients’ pain points
– Next to each, list how you solve their problems
– In the third column, note which ones competitors say they solve – and how
– Now review the lists.
– Whatever you solve (and your competitors do not) is your unique differentiator.
– Promote it.
– Advertise it.
– Lead with it.

P.S. What are your pain points? I’d love to hear from you.

Do You Know What Keeps Your Customers Up at Night?

Do You Know What Keeps Your Customers Up at Night?

When it comes to connecting with prospects, we all face the same problem. Even the greatest, most innovative products can sit on the shelf if prospects don’t trust the seller.

Acknowledging What Keeps Your Prospects Up at Night Is Your Best Sales Opportunity

In order to build trust, always, always, always address your prospects greatest pain points or problem areas first. Then – later – offer your unique solution.

This assures prospects of two things:

– You understand them and their business problems
– You may very well have the right solution, and they probably will be willing to listen to you. 

Too often I see home pages totally devoted to product features and claims. Sure you’re letting readers know what business you’re in, but there is nothing really to resonate with readers, to grab and maintain reader interest. 

It’s important that your website first convey your understanding of the needs of your target market. It should not be all about you, your company, or what you are selling.

There are opportunities to “sell” your products or services on your website. Just do it respectfully, within the context of benefiting the reader. 

Good Thing I Sent This Out

Good Thing I Sent This Out

(Don’t miss provocative question at the end!)

A couple of weeks ago, I sent out a Jigsaw about my experience firing a toxic client. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I should send it – I really try to be positive and supportive and thought it might seem kind of grumpy. Anyway, I hit the send button. And I’m glad I did.

I think it was actually cathartic for some readers. I had more response than any other email – like:

“I loved this post! I am wrangling with a client that is exactly as you describe. I have done so much free work, endured complaints and insults, I can’t believe it! I have to get rid of her!”

“Thank you for the very informative message, much appreciated. I am better prepared and I too would let the client go.”

“When I feel disrespected…that is when I say our time is up.”

“My sentiments exactly….. An excellent article! I try not to fire them but every once in a while “it feels so good.”

Provocative Question

Here is a question I received from one reader. I’d be really interested in your feedback – which I will share.

“Now what do you do about giving $$$ back when you are in the middle of the project? Or do you always go to the end then fire?”

Tell me your thoughts

When Should You Fire A Client?

When Should You Fire A Client?

It had been a tough process.

A new client in a business that I loved.
A lot of enthusiasm at the start.
Extra upfront time invested by both of us (to be expected).
Then things seemed to go south.

There was a litany of client problems including:

  • Constantly changing his mind, resulting in my having to redo copy time after time
  • Requesting changes without being able to articulate why – just wanting to see more options
  • Second-guessing my advice, but expecting me to pick up the pieces when things went wrong
  • Continually missing meetings, and not willing to extend deadlines
  • Nitpicking my work and the work of the designer, thereby lowering morale

Contract renewal time arrived and – to my surprise –
he wanted to renew.

Let Me Step Back and Say –

I value my clients, dearly. They pay me money, give me interesting projects, and sometimes become friends. But ONCE, I fired a client, and this was it.

So during another difficult phone conversation, I let him know that I had decided not to continue with his work.

This is What I’ve Learned

There is a big difference between challenging projects and challenging clients.
Challenging projects help you grow, are immensely satisfying when brought to a happy conclusion, and can lead to more business.

Challenging clients are the ones who are never satisfied, never want to pay for their 22 revisions, never pleased with an idea unless its theirs, never stick to a deadline, and are unreasonably demanding. Challenging clients, in my experience, are also few and far between (thank heavens!)

When I worked for a big corporation, I had to suck it up. But as the head of my own copywriting service, I could see this client was going to continue to drive me crazy and drain my energy.

I decided to fire him.

What would you have done? I’d be interested in your thoughts. 

A Delightful Success Formula: Measure Twice; Cut Once

A Delightful Success Formula: Measure Twice; Cut Once

I take delight in meeting deadlines and delivering projects on time. I know it’s weird. But I truly like being organized and I’m a dedicated planner. As you can imagine this is an invaluable skill when writing copy for small businesses – often several projects at a time.

How do I project manage? It’s my Measure Twice; Cut Once Plan

1. I lay out a detailed editorial calendar that tells my client’s story and brings readers to a conclusion and a decision. I work backwards from the publishing date and measure the time it will take for each step leading up to that date (first measurement). And then I confirm all deadlines with the marketing team (measure twice).

2. The delightful part is that once that calendar is finalized, I only have to cut through the details once, without having to re-negotiate deadlines along the way. I’m happy. The client is happy.

As a business owner, you may not be creating all of your own content. Or maybe you are and, if so, this is even more important for you. In either event, you need to ensure that the people who are writing for you are on target and on time. The creation of an editorial calendar is an outstanding way to begin.

And if you would like a copy of one of my editorial templates, click here now.

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project.
No obligation, of course.

Check This Out

Check This Out

Even the best of us feel squeamish asking for testimonials. It seems like we’re wrenching those golden referrals from customers who we know very well love us. Why do we have so much trouble asking for them?

But ask, we gotta!

According to ClickZ, when asked how they felt when there are no customer reviews available, a whopping 35% said they were less likely to buy, and 32% said they would hold off making a buying decision until they did more research. Only 8% said they didn’t care.

Here are some tips which may make the process a little easier:

  • The best time to ask for a recommendation is when you have just done something really wonderful and your customer is high on you. It’s not necessary to wait until you have completed your project.
  • Give your request urgency by stating a reasonable deadline
  • Gently suggest what you would like included – which should exemplify one of your core messages. For instance, when I ask for a reference, I try to get my customer to quantify any increases in revenue or customers generated by my work.
  • You can offer to write a draft for your customer’s approval if you know them well and know this is something they would be open to. Sometimes it makes both of your lives easier.
  • Be sure to send the finished draft back to the customer for approval, and keep a record of the approval in your file.

Ways to Build Brand Loyalty

Ways to Build Brand Loyalty

Strategy 1: Create An Amazing Customer Experience

Starbucks and Apple. What do they have in common? They are both brands built upon customer experience. Their founders understood their customers and created experiences that fed into their customers’ emotional needs.

How Can You Juice Up Your Customer Experience?

Is Starbucks really the best coffee in the world? Is Apple really that much better than Microsoft or Android? Many people would say no. But how fun is it to walk into a store and order your coffee exactly the way you want it? Or walk up to a counter and get to talk to a computer genius, who supposedly can solve your tech problems. How often do you get to do that in life? Companies should aim to deliver that same kind of customer experience in every aspect of customer interaction by:

  1. Doting upon their customers and providing unexpectedly remarkable customer care
  2. Embedding this attitude into their corporate culture so that everybody – from sales assistant to receptionist – focuses on delivering remarkable customer experience

Strategy 2: Surprise and Innovate

There are some companies that just never stop inventing. OK, it can be a little annoying because you never feel you are keeping up. But how many people just have to have that next generation iPhone?

How Can You Juice Up Your Innovation?

Never be satisfied. Even if your customers seem content, always be watching for that next innovation that you could install, or a new way to solve a problem. Then let everybody know about it – with enthusiasm.

Strategy 3: Reward Loyalty With Loyalty

I work out three times a week with a personal trainer. It’s not just that he helps me build up my strength. What I really love about him is his point of view when it comes to the people he works with. For one thing, he puts his most loyal customers first. Notice I said most loyal – not his most profitable clients, but those who have been with him the longest and love him the most. What is the result for him? He has a core group of raving fans, who sing his praises to all their friends and have helped him expand his business.

How Can You Juice Up Your Loyalty Program?

Take a look at the customers who have been with you the longest. Why are they so loyal? Are there ways that you can tie the bonds even tighter? Most of all, don’t take them for granted! Loyal customers get deeply and emotionally involved with your brand. And they spread the word.

Strategy 4: Be Responsive

A mid-sized law firm in the Midwest had a policy that a partner returned every phone call within 24 hours – no matter what. This level of responsiveness was so engrained into their culture that they didn’t even think about it. However, one very smart marketing executive realized how unusual this level of responsiveness was and created an ad campaign around it. The company even arranged that their phones be answered 24/7 and a partner was always on call. The result? Increased new business, which generated additional revenue.

How Can You Juice Up Your Responsiveness?

Companies that want to juice up brand loyalty don’t have to go too much further than this one. Do you return customer calls the same day? Is every problem dealt with quickly and decisively? Are you ahead of what your customers want and try to provide those things without being asked? If so, you are probably ahead of most of your competitors.

Strategy 5: Spend Quality Time With Your Brand

Of course you’re going to spend time marketing your brand. But it is equally important to understand your brand DNA – what it is that differentiates you in the marketplace and the visceral perception of your brand among your target market.

How Can You Juice Up Your Brand?

One of the strategies for strengthening a brand is to go back to your core values. What do you stand for? What is the ultimate quality that you want to deliver? How should the customer feel after every interaction? Disney is absolutely brilliant at this. They have a published list of core values that they use to train every employee. These core values are so imbued into their culture that every employee knows exactly what to do in every situation – from an ice cream scoop falling off a child’s cone in a park to the care they give to every piece of dialogue uttered by every animated character.

Brand loyalty is no accident. It takes a great deal of strategic thought and follow-up. It is a combination of impeccable customer experience, innovation, and responsiveness.