When thinking about what ambiance means, you might refer to a local coffee shop with a quaint atmosphere that serves you your favorite coffee. When I think of ambiance, it’s deeper than just your surroundings; it ties directly into every aspect of your business. However, your ambiance can change quickly with poor client service. Dictionary.com defines ambiance as "The mood, character, quality, tone, atmosphere, etc.., particularly of an environment or milieu.” When you think about your client service ambiance what atmosphere is it creating for your clients?
When visiting a local business recently, I realized then that ambiance is more than just an atmosphere. It’s about all the pieces that complete any business from client service, innovative ideas to a great product. You can have innovative ideas and a great product, but without excellent client service and experience, all the other aspects of your business may continue to fall short.
Your client service ambiance reflects who you are as a company internally and externally. With that being said, your clients have options to do their business elsewhere. As your company moves forward in 2013, what can you do to have an overall client service ambiance that keeps clients coming back?
Client Service or Customer Experience
Client service is so important and can easily set you apart from your competitors. Did you know that your clients will pay more for a product or service just to have a better customer experience? Client service has to be consistent from the first person who answers the phone or greets your clients all the way to service delivery. Each person who has client contact creates an everlasting impression, and you want to ensure that each person is leaving a positive one. How to rejuvenate your client service for 2013:
- If you do not have a customer service vision for your company in place – create one that stands behind the client service you want to represent. Think about how you want your company and services to be represented.
- Think innovation – how can your company continue to excel in customer service or to improve customer experience? Allow your employees to make decisions and to generate value to your customers.
- Throw out the rule book – too many rules and restrictions are like a deflated balloon. Allow your employees to provide true client service vs. what’s written in the rule book. Zappos is a great example, not only the culture they have created but their first core value is "Deliver Wow Through Service.” Zappos believes in doing things in an unconventional and innovative way to go above and beyond just "average” service but to create an emotional impact and to leave them with a positive story. Think about what kind of story you want to leave with your clients.
- Do your homework – What kind of client service are your competitors offering? How can your firm’s be better different or better?
- Think small – If one person in your firm made the commitment to improving 1% per day, the firm would be 37x better, not 365% (3.65x) better at the end of the year. What incremental changes can your firm make to improve client service?
- What client service do you expect? Treat your clients the way you want to be treated. Most importantly, be proactive and listen to their needs.
Client service and customer experience are so important and might be the determining factor whether a client stays or moves on to another competitor. Continue to allow client service to be a part of your overall business growth and make it a priority. Allow innovation, always room for client service growth and learn from mistakes. Make yourself the envy of your competitors by going above and beyond in creating the overall client service ambiance that keep your clients coming back for more.