How You Serve Clients Matters More than What You Serve Them

You’ve heard this quote before, right? “People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care [about them]."


It has been attributed to many people including Theodore Roosevelt, John Maxwell, and Earl Nightingale, but who said it first isn’t important. What’s important is that you understand it and benefit from its message.


Being in a tech-connected world means higher levels of competition than ever before. Customers can easily find your competitors online, they can buy products and services with the click of a button, and they can read the opinions of clients you’ve previously worked with. That means the days of being able to be a jerk and still be professionally successful are running out.


However, you don’t have to be a jerk for this principle to apply to you. Customers no longer have to be repulsed by someone to make them decide to take their business elsewhere. Back in the day when you were the only supplier of your product or service nearby, you could be lacking in certain customer service skills and you’d still get the business. Where else would the patrons go?


Now, it doesn’t take appalling behavior to lose prospects or clients. They can simply walk away with an “I’m not sure about that person” feeling, even if they can’t put their finger on what exactly makes them feel that way. You can still lose that prospect to another easily-found-online provider just for not focusing on making them feel good rather than neutral.


So, the question is…

What does it take to win their business and keep it?

(After all, repeat business is the ultimate goal, isn’t it?) 

What you do isn’t the only factor for success. How you do it matters as much or more.


Three Behaviors that Lead to Client Retention



Your product or service either fulfills a desire or solves a problem they have.

You’ve probably got this one handled. If your offer didn’t solve a problem or help them satiate a desire, you’d likely be out of business (and probably not reading this blog). So great work on this one!



Be likeable

People like doing business with people they like. And people they like usually fall into at least one (if not all) of these categories: Makes them feel good, takes an interest in them, has things in common with them, and/or is confident and authentic. Making someone feel good is a bit vague. More specifically, make them feel valued, special, appreciated, and/or heard.



Serve your clients to a degree that they get as much or more satisfaction from working with you as they get from using your product or service.

Ideally, you want them to be so satisfied with the customer experience you provide that they’d never have a reason to even look elsewhere and would follow you to the next product or service if you ever decided to change offers or companies.

This is where your professional competencies mix with your personal qualities. You still need to be that likeable person discussed earlier, as well as, the one who delivers best-in-class service. What determines excellent service can vary by industry, but will usually involve at least some of these: anticipating their needs, your customer onboarding experience once they’ve made the purchase, your follow up strategy, how quickly you handle issues that arise, and how much value you add.


The two main reasons someone takes their business elsewhere are:

They feel poorly treated and their problem wasn’t solved in a timely manner, if at all. So, as long as you are doing points two and three (above) well, your likelihood for success is great. In the words of Joel Comm, “[For them to buy, they must] know me, like me, and trust me.”


And this conversation is about you, but it’s not only about you. If you have a team who also helps you serve your clients, then this all applies to them as well. They should be an extension of you, upholding the same customer-satisfaction objectives, processes, and characteristics. Your clients should get a consistent level of service from everyone on your team.


It should go without saying, but I’ll say it just in case. We believe if you take this concept to heart and you’re doing these: treating people well, following up quickly when they ask for help, truly serving people to the best of your ability, and behaving in a trustworthy manner, not only will you be more successful, but you’ll also be more fulfilled by your success.


So often, it seems we, as business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals, are pushing so hard toward that ultimate goal…climbing to that mountaintop we call success—where they keep the money and other rewards for a job well done…that we underestimate how it will feel to reach that peak knowing we did it all with integrity and in a way that made others feel valued along the way.


If on our way to the top, we steal all of the oxygen and trail food for ourselves, leave our own values and standards at base camp so we don’t have to carry the weight, or get to the peak only to realize that not only are we standing alone, but there’s no one who wants to even congratulate us or celebrate our win, the success won’t be enough. It won’t have been worth it to trade everything else for that view.


Success matters, but the way you treat people along the way to success matters more.


Written by Amiee Mueller
Photo by Vek Labs


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