By Mary Gersema
What’s Their Story??
“O.K., so can you tell me how this makes our client’s lives better?” This seems to be a question I am asking people lately so I thought I’d talk about it here to get us all on the same page.
We all know there are some things that would make the clients’ lives easier that just aren’t possible so let’s get those off the table right away. Us funding their payroll, not requiring general liability insurance, not having participation levels on benefits, paying under the table…you get the point.
Let’s look at the flip side, using some examples of things we can do. When I say we should know our clients I mean “really” know them. I want us to know their business, their story, their hobbies, family, pain, passion. That lets us take care of our clients in ways that people who don’t know them can’t. Example: the leave-behind gifts we have are a good generic beginning. What if you have a client who doesn’t drink coffee (you did know this, right?), a coffee mug is not a cool gift. Maybe a small box of great dark chocolate would be better received. What do they collect – snow globes? So, when you see a unique one pick it up for them.
Here’s a thought, it’s summer, it’s hot. Call the client and ask if you can bring a cooler of popsicles over for the guys out back. Ice down a cooler and get some nice ice cream treats. Is there a place that sells homemade lemonade by the gallon (there is in Boise, it’s Pronto Pups). Take cups and some homemade lemonade by for the guys. Call and let the client know you want to come by the next morning with donuts and milk for no reason other than making their life better.
Here are some paytech/office staff ideas to keep in mind. Send a nice handwritten note telling a client how much we appreciate them. If a client calls and says they need to change a pay rate, don’t tell them what they need to do… make it easy for them and write it up for them and sign it “per phone conversation with Bob”. Call every client every time an employee is not being paid to find out why and get the employee off payroll if necessary so we aren’t billing the client for benefits. As you find out things about this client, like the fact that they are passionate about a certain cause; pass that information to the rest of the team so we can act on it. How cool would it be that we made a contribution to a soup kitchen in honor of a client because you are the one who found out that’s their pet charity? Do you think that client would tell his friends how great we are?
Now the hard part. I can’t think of all the ideas myself. I challenge every one of you to begin making it a habit to know your clients better. You all have clients. Some of your clients (maybe all) are internal. That’s o.k. they are still clients. Begin a database, however informal and start collecting information about your clients and then act on it. Begin looking for ways to make their lives easier by little things you can do everyday. Be proactive, not reactive. And then, let me know of your successes in this challenge so I can celebrate with you.