Discerning Client? 5 Strategies for Better Service
Customer service changes based on the types of clients you’re serving. While there are certain fundamentals that apply no matter what your business is or who your target demographics are, it’s better for your business to study the needs of your specific customers, and tailor your service strategy to fit their unique needs.
For example, businesses serving a select group of high-end clients will need a different strategy from their counterparts, who likely serve mass quantities of less valuable customers.
Why High-End Clients Are Different
To strategize a better service plan, you’ll first need to understand the differences that make high-end clients unique:
- More expensive purchases. First and foremost, high-end clients will be spending more for your products and services. Rather than hosting 10,000 customers each buying a $10 piece of jewelry, you’ll have one client spending tens of thousands of dollars for the perfect piece.
- Bigger, longer-term deals. Clients don’t make five- and six-figure decisions based on a single interaction. Instead, they want to create and sustain a long-term relationship. They’re looking for bigger deals that last a longer period of time.
- More experience. Though not always the case, many high-end clients have access to wealth because they’ve had lots of time and experience to build it up. They have more life experience, and are therefore more discerning about the services they enlist.
How to Adapt Your Customer Service Strategy
These are some of the most important ways you’ll need to change your strategy:
1. Cultivate an atmosphere of exclusivity.
Exclusivity is one of the most successful marketing strategies for luxury brands, and you can use it in your customer service approach as well. The idea is to make your customers feel like they’re your only customers—that they’re having a private experience, and are part of a hand-picked, “special” group, rather than being lumped in with the masses. This means it’s good to have one-on-one conversations with your clients, and avoid mention or acknowledgments of other clients you may have. Make your best customers feel like they’re your only customers.
2. Detail personal needs.
Next, make sure you’re paying careful attention to your client’s individual needs. They’ll be spending extra money on your brand, so spend the extra time and money to give them a one-of-a-kind customer experience. Some of them will prefer short, concise, fast interactions, while others will prefer drawn-out, thoughtful, friendly conversations. Keep notes on your individual clients, and be prepared to address those individual needs.
3. Prepare for a long-term relationship.
Just one engagement with a high-end client could be enough to make your investment worth it, but most clients of this nature will want to maintain the relationship indefinitely; if they trust you, they’ll want to keep you around, rather than hunting for someone new to build trust with. Accordingly, from day one, you should treat the relationship as a long-term investment; give each client a designated point person (account rep), and don’t make them switch. Keep your brand top-of-mind with regular “thank yous,” and follow-up messages to see how they’re doing. The little touches will help your relationship become more sustainable.
4. Design high-end services.
Finally, for your high-end clients, you should design high-end customer services. Instead of having a simple email contact form, consider investing in a custom designed customer service portal. Instead of relying on a cost-effective call center, invest in the best sales and account representatives you can find, and establish one-on-one levels of service. You may even consider establishing “bronze,” “silver,” and “gold” customer service plans with differing levels of service and value.
5. Remember the importance of referrals.
It’s not a stereotype that wealthy people tend to hang out with other wealthy people. They live in the same neighborhoods, their children attend the same schools, and they tend to enlist in the same types of lucrative activities. Accordingly, creating an exceptional relationship with one wealthy client could be the gateway you need to make contact with dozens of other wealthy individuals. If you incorporate a referral program, or even informally ask for referrals after providing valuable service, you’ll likely earn a steady stream of clients to keep you busy for years.
These strategies will allow your sales reps, account reps, and customer service specialists to give your high-end customers a better all-around experience—and ample reasons to return to your brand. If you can keep your high-end clients happy, your business can remain open indefinitely.
Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from Olympia, WA. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, iMediaConnection.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and...