In my last diary I talked about lessons I had learned while serving on jury duty. Focusing on how we can relate those, to what we do in our businesses. This diary is a continuation. I want to dig further into what makes a stronger connection with your clients. Sharing that experience was completely unexpected, and made me think that there was more I could do to deepen that connection.
Last time I mentioned three perceptions that usually need work. As a whole, we need to improve how we are viewed in this industry, our community, with our friends and colleagues, etc. This time I want to talk about what we can do to change the way people feel. I want to talk about how to make them feel special, valued, and in turn, build a stronger connection and a stronger relationship.
I’m sure we have all read the quote by Maya Angelou “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” What does this mean to you and your business? If this was a goal, what would you change to ensure this was met?
Back to my courtroom and jury duty –the case is over, the verdict read and everyone, except the jury, exits the courtroom. The judge asked us to stay so he could talk with us a little. He wanted to first thank us personally for our time and attention in his courtroom. But that wasn’t all. He wanted to hear our feedback on the week, to give us an opportunity to ask him questions, whatever they were, and to have a conversation with us on any topics we wanted to talk about with him. Right there, my opinion of this judge changed. He went from very straight-faced, stern judge, to a real person who actually cares about what others think and how they feel. The fact that he took the time to ask us questions, wanted to hear our thoughts about the entire process and his courtroom in particular showed that he cared. He wanted to find ways to improve the process and make it more enjoyable for all of those involved. Overall he made us feel like we mattered, like our thoughts and opinions were important and the role we played that week was very integral to a successful court system.
How many of us take the time in our busy world to get to know our clients? To have a conversation with them like a friend? To stay in touch even when they haven’t booked in a while? Do you ask for their thoughts or feedback on your business and booking process? What can be improved to make things smoother and better for them and future clients? I do think that is a very important step for us. I am guilty of not always taking the time to ask for feedback, other than about their specific vacation. So how can we, as an industry, make the entire process a better experience for our clients, exceed their expectations, and beat the big online travel agencies in client relations each and every time?
After spending 30-45 minutes talking with the judge we all walked out of the courtroom. Very unexpectedly we were greeted with handshakes and a hearty “thank you” by name, from the two lawyers and the Doctor. If you didn’t get that, I said by name. Yes, the very 1st day one of the lawyers knew every one of our names (first and last) and he did not forget them, taking the time to learn them during jury selection. Of all the moments of my jury week, I think this one impacted me the most and continues to stick in my mind. This was by far a “WOW” moment. These 3 went above and beyond any expectations I had. In my mind, the case was over, we had sat in the courtroom chatting with the judge quite a while and I never expected anyone from this case to be left in the building at this point. What a very nice surprise to open the door and have them standing, waiting for all of us to say a personal thank you. Who does this, I thought? Well they do! I bet it’s a common practice for this law team and it works! Because of the actions of the judge and the law team, I walked away with a very positive, happy and content feeling that day.
How many of you personally thank your clients each and every time? Thanking them when they least expect it and making them feel valued? I’ll admit that I have been a little lax in this area. What is your process of thanking clients? How well does it work for you? At what point in the process do you say, or send a, thank you? What unexpected surprises have you delivered in the past? Or have you received in the past? How can we use what I have shared, or what experiences you’ve had in the past to improve our businesses, our industry as a whole, and time after time ensure that our clients always remember us first because we made them feel special?
Stephanie Cannon is the owner of Honeymoons Designed, a home-based agency located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been a professional travel consultant since 2006 and specializes in Romance Travel. Her focus is on customizing unique, authentic and unforgettable experiences. Most of her client base consists of couples celebrating a honeymoon, destination wedding, anniversary, or vow renewal. She is a recent Certified Tahiti Specialist and currently enrolled in the CTA program.