10 Tips to improve your clients' perception of your business
In business, we must differentiate ourselves through our brand, through our product offering and, in a service business in particular, through the behaviour of our people.
Your clients’ perceptions of your organisation are developed through the people they interact with in your company.
Organisations spend thousands creating and advertising their brands, yet the client experience significantly drives client perception.
Are your people sabotaging your business through their behaviour?
Being a brand ambassador for your business and being able to engage with others’ confidently in order to build successful, professional relationships is key to outstanding performance.
Here are our top behaviour tips to ensure that your employees are great ambassadors for your organisation:
#1 - Ensure leaders model the desired behaviours. Telling people what is required doesn’t work; employees’ behaviour must be reinforced through leaders’ actions.
#2 - Set non-negotiable standards that everyone is expected to operate within. These are standards that everyone in the company is expected to operate at and can vary from business to business.
#3 - Do the right thing—it will create a ripple effect of kindness, and a feel-good factor. This should not be part of a process but being able to stand in a client’s shoes and make a decision in that moment. Doing the right thing is often not expensive for the organisation but it’s priceless for clients.
#4 - Measure behaviour through a strong performance framework, focusing on HOW employees carry out their role. It is imperative that the performance framework supports your service vision and that expected behaviours are included and are measurable within the performance criteria.
#5 - Acknowledge and reward great behaviour and outstanding relationships. Rewarding achievement of financial targets alone could lead to unscrupulous behaviour. Rewarding behaviour with a team focus encourages more collaborative working.
#6 - Surprise and delight your clients when they complain. Of course, mistakes will happen in all businesses. Recognise this and have processes in place in a way that exceeds the clients’ expectations. Ultimately, the client should not remember the original problem but what was done to put it right.
#7 - Be aware of proper etiquette and expected behaviour in all forms of communication. Written, digital and face-to-face communication should be consistent with the organisations brand message and non-negotiable standards.
#8 - Ensure behaviour is consistent. In the eyes of your client, the organisation is a single entity. If your clients’ experience different standards of service from different individuals, then their experience is diminished and the organisation’s credibility is reduced and its reputation is tarnished.
#9 - Build processes for the 95% majority, not the 5% minority. Building your processes around challenging clients can put barriers in place, making it difficult for the majority of clients to access your services.
#10 – Respect your clients’ time. When we’re busy we can sometimes forget that our clients’ time is equally as important as our own.
Mastering the art of great behaviour is a key component of building trust. Getting it wrong can really damage your credibility; getting it right takes you one step closer to being able to build trusted relationships.
Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training and Donna Whitbrook is a Corporate Associate. They are co-authors of the new book 'Trusted: The human approach to building outstanding client relationships in a digitised world’ (Practical Inspiration Publishing).
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