We serve clients. Our team exists to provide services that set a client up to succeed. We provide a service that's a part of a bigger plan with bigger goals and expectations, but what we do plays a major part in supporting the end product and success. In a way, I define my success by our clients' success.
On the flip side, I also work with other companies to provide services that assist my efforts in the marketing of LeadG2 and The Center for Sales Strategy. Recently I've hit some serious frustrations. I'm paying a company a LOT of money to provide an end product that's part of a bigger strategy with bigger goals, BUT they are making it really hard to work with them. A few things that stand out to support this statement are:
- Lack of communication
- Lack of expectations set
- Not providing the deliverables in the timeframe communicated
- Not providing the deliverables discussed in the pre-planning of this service
I think the biggest frustration is #1 in this list: lack of communication. I understand things happen, projects take longer to perfect and provide the ideal deliverable, or things have to be restructured or reworked to ensure they are staying on the path to deliver a final product that will reach and exceed our goals. I've been the client and I've worked with clients. There were projects I've worked on that we realized weren't going the best direction for the client's end goals, and we've realigned the project mid-way to ensure we delivered a final product that's going to best benefit the client in the end.
BUT... there was communication. Have we messed up? Yes. Have we failed at super-serving clients? At times. But with what I've learned in providing services and deliverables for clients, as well as what I deal with in being the client, has found me at the place of delivering this little speck of knowledge to you: the best way to help your clients find success is to super-serve them and support them on their way to success.
Many of LeadG2's clients are in this same situation. They are a client and receive services or deliverables, and on the flip side, serve other clients with their products and deliverables. No matter where your role sits in this spectrum, the end goal is to see your clients succeed. If your clients succeed, you succeed.
Here are a few ways B2B companies can super-serve their clients to success:
1. Communicate, communicate, and when you think you're done communicating, communicate more!
Like I mentioned earlier, there are road bumps on the path to delivering a final product or service, and what I've experienced is that if you communicate along the way, the client typically understands you have their best interest and success at heart, and would rather have a final product that is awesome and high quality, than a rushed product that was thrown together. It doesn't mean they don't have deadlines you need to meet, or that this should happen with every product, but communication is key to a company-client relationship.
Personally, I'd prefer over-communication with regular status updates or any changed deliverable dates. Clients HATE having to reach out to someone they are paying to get updates on something they expect. Especially when they expect a deliverable to a specific date, and it doesn't show up. There's probably a good reason, and by communicating that reason in advance of the due date, companies can avoid frustrated customers and broken trust.
2. Set realistic expectations up front.
This brings me to #2: setting realistic expectations in advance. A significant factor in super-serving clients is being real, honest, and truthful about the expectations before both parties agree on a final deliverable date.
Setting these expectations up front not only holds you accountable, but it also helps to establish trust between your company and the client. Like I mentioned, things will happen that alter final deliverable dates, etc., but expectations put both parties in a place to understand what's happening and when.
Some expectations to set are communication preferences and timing (how and when does the client prefer to communicate), what's being delivered, how it's being delivered, and when it's going to be delivered. When a client understands the process and what they can expect before jumping into a relationship with a new company, it will build the relationship's foundation on trust and continue to build from there.
3. Keep the client's end goals at the front of everything you deliver.
Obviously your company has been chosen to do what you do best. But that doesn't mean you can do everything the same for each client or company you provide services or products for.
When you are providing products and services based on your client's end goals, it will enhance their overall strategy and help them reach and exceed their end goals, delivering great ROI on their investment of choosing you. Depending on the product or service, this might look different for each B2B company. For some companies, this might mean catering a service to the client's processes, and for some companies with a very specific product that doesn't change, this might mean planning the best way the company can utilize the product and fit it into their overall plan and strategy.
Don't find yourself (or your company) blanketing your products and services across a variety of clients and doing everything the same for each client. By super-serving your clients with excellent communication, defined expectations, and focused efforts on their goals, you will assist your clients on their way to success, in turn setting the relationship up for future success and growth for your company! Not all clients are the same, and the best B2B companies know this and super-serve their clients as much as they can.