We all get it. Marketing is important. Unless people know what you do, they will never pay you to do it. It also helps if you can find something that makes you unique, or close to unique, in the eyes of someone who might buy your services.
We can take that as read. But what about the other end of the transaction? Once you have attracted people and they are ready to part with cash, how do you handle the situation? How do you not just make sure that you are delivering the right product but doing it in the right way?
Andrew Morris is a bit of a living legend amongst some translators. He argues that, on top of the quality of the final product, the reason why his customers come back to him is the “emotional experience” they have. In fact, he sees quality as 25% of the reason for them coming back. No, he doesn’t make them cry or laugh all the time. He simply makes their life easier and is sensitive to their needs.
That seems simple but it is where many businesses fail. Take today, for example. I was trying to order some custom business cards from a well-known online printer. They made the design stage really easy and even saved my work periodically. Lovely.
Then I came to order. I literally had my debit card on the couch next to me. And then I spotted their delivery options.
I absolutely needed the order to come by Friday morning (because I am off to the NGTV conference in Utrecht on Friday afternoon). None of their options allowed me to do that. No next day delivery. No morning guarantee. I even phoned them.
“Sorry, we don’t offer next day delivery and we can’t tell you when your package will arrive on the day it comes.”
Helpful, indeed. So what did I do?
I went straight to another retailer and placed an even bigger order with them. Sure, they didn’t make design quite as easy or flexible but they had a morning delivery option and so, despite the extra £20 on the price, I took them up on the offer.
The lesson is simple. Delivering great service and understanding the needs of your customers are absolutely irreplaceable skills. You can market all you like but if you can’t deliver the goods or services how and when your clients need them, you might as well give up now.