Hey Kelly – Is It Possible to Provide Concierge-Type Service for All Customers?
Yikes! I’m coming to the end of all the great questions that I got earlier this year when I asked for help with my super secret project. And this week's is a DOOZY. Here goes:
"Is it possible to provide concierge type service (think personal shopper) for all of our customers, large and small, on all projects?"
My interpretation of this question goes a little something like this:
"Up until now, I have focused mostly on the kind of work that I was really good at, and for the most part, it has worked for me. But now, times are tough, and getting tougher, and I don’t want to EVER say 'no' to my customers. I want to do absolutely everything for them, no matter what, so they don’ t have to deal with anyone but me. I’m considering changing my business model to become more of a broker/manufacturer, so I can capture a bigger piece of the pie."
Do I have that about right?
Here’s what I’m going to do. I’ll give you a few reasons why it’s a good idea, and a few reasons why it’s not, and you can draw your own conclusions. Cool?
YES! DO IT! DO IT NOW! (OK, not RIGHT NOW, but soon)
I am making a few assumptions here:
1—That your customers love you and trust you.
2—That you communicate well with them.
3—That you have the staff and connections (vendors for all the farming out of all of the work that you don’t currently do) to implement this plan.
If all of that is true, do it. But before you do, talk to your best and closest customers, and ask them what they think of the idea. Are they willing to give you more business? Next, rally your salespeople and make sure they are on board with the idea. They should be REALLY excited about the idea, because it should free them up to (potentially) sell lots more to lots more companies.
DANGER! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!
You may want to re-think this plan if any or all of the following are true for you:
1—You don’t farm out a lot of work and don’t have a lot of strong relationships with partner vendors.
2—You don’t have the financial situation to book more volume at very low margins.
3—You don’t have commitments from a solid percentage of your clients to give you more business.
4—You don’t have the support staff (estimating, customer service and traffic) to manage this increase in business.
This is actually a pretty complicated question, and one that likely bears more commentary. Better yet, maybe some of you can chime in with your thoughts and experiences and I can write a follow-up piece in the coming weeks based on the feedback.
Thanks for all the great questions that you all asked me. I will leave it as an open invitation to get In touch with me if there are other topics that you would like me to address. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, text me at (773) 680-5134, or if you really want to kick it old school, you can call!
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.