“I’ll have a venti latte, triple shot, coconut milk, with a sprinkle of cinnamon.”
If you frequent Starbucks, you’ve probably heard other customers give complex orders like this. Maybe you give them yourself. Do Starbucks’ customers blink at the verbal gymnastics some customers perform just to get their cuppa joe? Not at all. In fact, they happily comply, making Starbucks ubiquitous worldwide.
If something so simple as a cup of coffee can be delivered exactly how the customer wants, why can’t other things—business services, for example—be just as tailored to the end user? If you run a business services company, consider whether you tend to provide out-of-the-box solutions for your customers. Maybe you have a package of standard services that you offer. That’s fine, I guess, like a cup of boring coffee from your tired diner is fine. But could you do better?
Start looking at customers as individuals
I don’t order the same drinks at Starbucks as my friends do. Heck, I hardly order the same thing for myself. While some of your customers might have similar needs, not all will, and if you release that idea of uniformity, you’ll do a lot better at showing potential customers that you actually care about what they want and need.
The next time you speak with a potential client, resist the urge to slide that list of prepackaged, shrink-wrapped services in front of him. Instead, listen. Listen to what he tells you that he needs. Then use your smart noodle to develop a personalized solution. Maybe he needs some items from your typical package, but other services as well. When you remove the parameters of the services you offer, you remove restrictions to how you can serve a client—and you make your customer happier by showing that you have exactly what he’s looking for.
Price services a la carte
When you step away from canned services, you may become uneasy about pricing. Here’s an easy solution: Price everything individually. So for me as a content marketer, I have prices for articles based on word count ranges. I have prices for social media marketing. Book writing. Web copy. When you know what each component costs, you can customize a solution for a customer and present the price based on that customer’s specific needs.
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Make smart suggestions
One of the reasons I never order the same drink twice in a row at Starbucks is because their magnificent mobile app taunts me with featured beverages that catch my eye. In your business, dangle services that maybe a customer didn’t initially consider so that they feel they can’t live without them. It’s a great way to upsell while making the client feel that you have his or her best interests in mind—and of course, you do!
Find your equivalent to the name on the cup
Starbucks is known for writing customers’ names on their cups. While you probably won’t be writing your clients’ names on cups, you can find innovative ways to connect with them. Maybe you send a big client a bouquet of flowers for her birthday. Maybe you take a client out to coffee or lunch every quarter. Whatever you do, show that you consider that client more than a revenue stream, and you will succeed at making the relationship personal.