Client Experience is Part of Your Brand
What do you hear when you ask someone, “What sets your company apart from the competition?” When you visit a competitor’s website, what do they claim to be doing better than you? It seems to me that answer will have something to do with client experience.
Let’s face it, client experience is very important. I might be a little over the top with my own personal expectations, but I’ll be honest, much of my experience is determined before I walk in the door of a place. Raise your hand if you’ve ever walked through a cloud of smoke to enter a restaurant? Ever had to get a tire fixed after visiting a home improvement or hardware store? Have you ever driven past a place because of poor signage?
Let’s assume that you are already delivering a product or service that you are proud of. But who else do you want to be? What else can you do? How do you want your clients or customers to feel about you? What will they tell their friends about the experience your brand brought to them?
“A product can be quickly outdated, but a successful brand is timeless.” – Stephen King
In our business, the first experience many people will have with our team is out networking. If this is something your company embraces – and you should – remember you ARE your brand! Carry yourself in a manner that reflects your company’s values and culture.
The same goes for encounters in your own place of business. When a client or future client comes to your office, make them feel welcome. Heather and I will chat with just about anyone if they offer us coffee. As I write this, I’m reminded of a meeting we once took with a financial planner. After being warmly greeted, we were lead into a very nice, comfortable conference room. On the table sat a small menu like you might find at a fancy restaurant. It listed the types of soda and coffee that were available for guests. I remember us loving how that made us feel.
Companies who “get” client experience focus on the brand as a whole and not just the product or service they deliver.
Put your customers in a good mood right away – whether the first impression is a clean, well-lit parking lot or a user-friendly website. People will often visit you online before you have a chance to meet them in person. Are you present and friendly on social media?
It is an excellent way for you to continue to maintain a positive relationship with your clients even when you are not physically with them. For example, I follow an accounting firm on social media who often posts insightful quotes. I know what you might be thinking…lots of companies do that. You’re right, however this firm networks and brands itself so well that if you are a client as I am, you will smile because you actually know the person inside the firm that is responsible for posting those words of inspiration.
“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own” -Henry Ford
How you dress, how easy you are to find, how your place smells, even the color paint you’ve chosen. It all feeds into client experience. Everything about you and your company….that’s your brand, and everyone on the company team is responsible for its maintenance!