Written by Josh Womack | @LaughStaff
As I started writing this I realized I didn’t have a concrete definition of what the word service meant. So I looked it up. Service is described as ‘the action of helping or doing work for someone.’ OK great, now the real question. How can your customers taste, touch or feel good service? Luckily, over 20 years ago Harry Beckwith answered that question.
My dad gave me a copy of Beckwith’s book, Selling The Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing. What an eye-opener. Beckwith does a great job of taking the reader through the customer journey, something all of us seem to overlook.
Whether it’s insurance, consulting services, or creative work, all of us in the service industry need to know how fragile the client is. Here are a few things I’ve learned and hopefully they’ll help your customers taste, touch and feel the expertise you provide.
- No guarantees. A lot of uncertainty – We all hope a career coach will provide us with that ‘a-ha moment’ we couldn’t think of on our own, or that the lawyer we hire will convince the judge to waive that ticket. But, like Morgan Freeman’s character “Red” said in The Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a dangerous thing.” Even when someone buys a service, he or she is skeptical. Beckwith states, “Most prospects cannot evaluate expertise, but they can tell if the relationship is good and if the phone calls or e-mails are returned. Clients are experts at knowing if they feel valued.”
- Do One Thing Awesome – Beckwith didn’t say it quite like this, but he sort of did. Have a fanatical focus in doing one thing well. To broaden your appeal, narrow your position. At this year’s Content Marketing World, speaker Mark W. Schaefer made a great point. He said, “Not everybody can become famous, but just about anybody can become ‘known’. How do you become known? It’s a concoction of presence, reputation, and authority. Oh, and it takes years to build.
- Sell Hope and Integrity – Like we said before, hope is a dangerous thing. But if you can communicate it with integrity your service is already halfway there. Beckwith states, “The value of any brand rises or falls with each demonstration of the company’s integrity.” Admit when you’re wrong, call or email when you say you will and ask if the customer is happy. Read through everything you send to clients and prospects. How does it feel? Does it sell happiness? Or the hope of it?
Hopefully, these serve as a reminder of how hard it is for service marketers to get customers to believe in them. It’s a slow, gradual building of trust. But what relationship isn’t?