I absolutely love reading Seth Godin's blog.
This morning Seth had a terrific post on what he calls "the intangibles." As I shared it with my staff I told them that, for me, Seth captures in his post exactly the ingredients of client service that have become so central to how we do business at Electric Artists:
We concentrate on the "intangibles."
It's been something that we've been doing for 10 years and for me is why the company has been successful since day one and will be successful for many, many years to come.
While I encourage you to read Seth's post in its entirety, I did want to excerpt he lessons, as I think they are spot on:
Here are some random ways you can embrace some intangibles:
* Call the person before you get the RFP, before they know they need you. Brainstorm with them about how you can work together to create the thing they need. Participation is priceless. After all, if all you're doing is meeting my spec, why exactly should you be rewarded?
* You'd be amazed at how much people value enthusiasm. Genuine, transparent enthusiasm about the project they're working on. Are you a framer? How do you respond to someone who brings something in to be framed? (Hint, if it involves a tape measure, you're missing the point).
* Don't forget speed. If you are overwhelmingly faster than the alternatives, what's that worth? For some people, more than you can imagine.
* Focus and personal service are obvious (but priceless) intangibles.
* Generosity is remembered for a long time. People remember what you did for them when you didn't have to do a thing, when you weren't looking for new business, when it was expensive or costly for you to do it. Did you know that the movie studio bought Robert Downey Jr. a Bentley when Iron Man hit it big? He didn't ask, they didn't want anything (at least right now).
* Error correction. How do you respond when you make an error? This is actually a huge opportunity to deliver an intangible, especially in a business to business setting. The last thing a client wants is to have to explain a snafu to her boss.
* Peer pressure is another silent intangible. What will my friends and colleagues think if I choose you? What if I don't choose you? Is it fashionable to pay a lot? How hard are you working at establishing a connection across your market that choosing you is the right thing to do, regardless of the price?
* The last one is probably the biggest. Hope. Do you offer hope for something really big in the future? Maybe just around the corner, but perhaps in the long run... What does it look and feel like? Are you drawing a vivid picture?