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How to Win Clients for Life

by Olufisayo
How to Win Clients

Norm was extremely helpful in repairing my laptop. He is friendly, his prices are very competitive and he delivered his service in a fast and effective manner. He also conveniently came to my location and was able to fix a number of technical and start up issues my laptop was facing. I would definitely recommend Norm to anyone in need of IT technician support.” – Joti, Blacktown, Sydney

Don’t you love reviews like that one? Customers are the lifeblood of any business and the most successful businesses provide outstanding customer service. I launched my computer repair business five years ago and, in that time, I’ve had hundreds of positive reviews.

What do you have to do to win customers who’ll stay with you for life? Let’s look at three principles which will deliver success for you and your business.

Treat Every Client as a Unique Individual

Half of the keys on my 7 y.o. laptop keyboard didn’t work. Norm has ordered a new keyboard, picked up laptop from my home and on the next day delivered my repaired laptop at time convenient to me. The same evening he texted me link where I could buy bilingual stickers for the keyboard. Norm’s services are top notch. Highly recommend.” Nadiaa – Robertson, Brisbane

This review speaks for itself. The customer was a Russian-speaker whose laptop keyboard was bilingual and I’d had to replace her keyboard with a new one. The new keyboard didn’t have the Cyrillic script she’d had previously on her old one. I told her after replacing the keyboard that she should be able to acquire some sort of stickers for use with the keyboard. When I got home, I researched this for her and sent her a link she could use to purchase the stickers she required.

       

The first principle in providing outstanding customer service is to realise that every client is a unique individual and to treat them as such. Your focus should be on providing the client with the outcome they desire, rather than on the financial return you will gain from doing so. Profits will follow when you have satisfied clients and when they, in turn, recommend you to other people in their sphere of influence.

In order to treat customers as unique individuals it’s necessary to allow the human side to enter into your interactions with them. You may be doing business with them, but people are still people. I’ve had a number of clients comment to me about having had previous encounters with ‘geeks’ who’d simply completed the job but with no real human interaction. If you can establish a human connection with the client, they are much more likely to remember you and use your services again.

Every client you encounter is part of a network of people – family, friends and colleagues. Word of mouth is essential for the growth of local businesses as satisfied customers recommend you to other people in their sphere of influence. One such customer can open the door to many more and so the knock-on effect continues as you continue to create positive outcomes for your clients.

This principle can also work against you as a negative experience can result in a client suggesting to those in their sphere of influence that they should avoid employing your services. It’s inevitable that you will not be able to satisfy every customer’s expectations, and some jobs will go wrong. How you manage these situations will influence the outcomes from them.

Exceed Your Clients’ Expectations

Norm is excellent at what he does! I wanted to rescue photos and data from my 2012 Mac laptop that had all but died and was so slowww. Norm gave me a couple of options and all reasonably priced. The bonus? Norm comes to you! I live a bit outside his usual region, and I am so grateful he was able to accommodate an appointment for me. Norm is friendly, polite, professional. The service is great. The outcome is great – my Macbook Pro now has a new hard drive, works as fast as the day I got it, and I’ve been able to save everything I wanted from it. Norm provides great local business service – the best I’ve seen – he is so good, I think he needs to clone himself so everyone can get top quality PC service.” – Danniella, Fitzgibbon, Brisbane

       

It’s always good advice to ‘under promise and over deliver’. When a client books your services they will expect that you’ll be able to sort out whatever issue they are having. They may also have clear expectations about how quickly they’d like to see it resolved, and what the cost should be. If you can do the job in a shorter timeframe, more quickly or less expensively than they were expecting then you’ve exceeded one or more of their expectations right from the outset.

Many businesses in my industry have websites which are filled with overhyped statements and promises designed to capture the attention of a potential customer. They often claim to have the lowest prices or the fastest service, to have the most qualified technicians, or quite simply that they are the best. I even noticed one of my competitors describe their service as providing ‘world-class computer repairs’. I must admit that I steer clear of any such claims in my marketing. I rely entirely on the words of my previous clients for recommendations.

Some of the claims made by these businesses may have an element of truth, but most are merely marketing hype. If you choose to make these claims, you potentially set up an expectation in the client’s mind which may be rather difficult to achieve in practice. It’s much more productive to articulate clearly what you offer without the marketing jargon.

When a customer enlists your services, they will often ask for an indication of the price. As far as customer retention goes, it’s beneficial to quote a price that’s at the higher end of what you think the job is actually likely to cost. Of course, this may be off-putting to some customers and they may decide to use the services of someone else. However, in my experience, most clients are likely to accept your price.

If you can actually complete the job less expensively than quoted, you’ve provided them with a pleasant surprise about the price. The flipside of this, however, is that if you charge the client a higher price than that quoted, you’re more likely to lose their business for the future. For this reason, I would always attempt to remain consistent with the price I’ve quoted even if the job ultimately requires more time than I expected. In some cases, this may even end up costing me money. However, by retaining the customer, you’re likely to recover any loss through future services provided for them.

       

Charge the Client Less Than Your Competition Does

I would highly recommend Norm. He offered same day service and was able to fix my daughters laptop with no problems. I was extremely happy with the price he charged me too. Way less than any of the “big name” geeks and as far as I’m concerned, a much better service. Thanks Norm, I would definitely recommend you to all my friends.” – Kirsty, Meadowbrook, Logan City

Having lower prices than the competition will make any business an attractive proposition. However, it can have the opposite effect if you quote prices which are much lower than those of your competition.

I’ve researched the prices being quoted by competitors in my own industry. As I’ve done so I’ve found there to be a few who charge much higher prices than most, and a few who charge much lower prices. There are even businesses whose prices are half of everyone else’s. I would tend to view these businesses with some suspicion as they may not be providing a full-time, professional service.

In my opinion, it’s beneficial to set your prices somewhere towards the lower end of the general range of prices for your industry, rather than seeking to compete with those offering rock-bottom prices. As you seek to become established, this is good practice. As your business develops, you can review your pricing and gradually adjust it higher.

Conclusion

I believe that it’s the desire of every business to win clients who will remain with them for life. In my own business I have many faithful customers who return to me again and again. If you treat every client as a unique individual, exceed their expectations, and charge them less than the competition, they’re very unlikely to look elsewhere.

       

The testimonials quoted in this article are all verbatim comments provided by previous clients after my completion of jobs for them. These testimonials, and many more, can be found on my business website.

This guide to outstanding customer service was written by Norm McLaughlin, founder of Norm’s Computer Services, a computer repair and IT support business in Brisbane, Australia.

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