Listen Up Service Providers – Secret Weapon Alert

October 26, 2014

secret weapon for service professionalsWe live in a digital age.  Much of our life is spent online and relationships adapt accordingly but here’s the thing, us humans need physical contact … in our personal and our professional lives. As a service provider you have the power (and duty) to make your clients feel special and here’s how two service providers made a difference to me recently.  They pulled out these secret weapons and in doing so made bad personal experiences better for me.  Their secret weapon – a simple, sincere hug.

Hug #1

After much procrastination I took myself off to the dentist a few months ago.  Many visits later and pocket MUCH lighter I’m good to go but the first visit I was a mess.  Shaking, sweating, even a stutter or two… I don’t do dentists.  We had our consultation and made a plan, and as I stood up to leave … ready to run for my car he reached out and gave me a hug.  With that simple action I felt 100 times better, I felt empathy … from a dentist!

Hug #2

Fast forward a few months and this time I’m seeing a specialist at the Superclinic (I know, it’s been Year of the Justine).  He delivered some bad news, I got upset but we talked it through.  Knowledge is power, there is a solution and again, a plan.  And you know, as I was making my next appointment with the nurse he walked back into the room to say goodbye and gave me a hug. Again I felt like I wasn’t just a number, I didn’t expect a hug from him but receiving it again made me felt like I mattered, like this was personal and like he really cared.

These two hugs went a long way towards making me feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations.  Like I was a person, not an appointment.  This is how I want my clients to feel – like I am personally invested in their problems and solutions.  Because I am.

Years ago I worked for a family owned business with a sales rep who had been there for years. She’d built up a fantastic relationship with many of her clients and would often give them a hug as they came into the premises.  The owners frowned upon this, they didn’t feel it was professional behaviour and in this politically correct age we live in, not appropriate.  But you know what, bullshit!  This sales rep sincerely cared for and valued her relationship with her clients and she made them feel special.  They were and they bought their business because of her.

Now I’m not saying your receptionist should get up from behind the desk and give all incomers a hearty hug.  She has no personal connection with them and it would (definitely) be inappropriate.

But if you are meeting a good client for a coffee, delivering personal news or meeting someone you’ve know online for a while for the first time (and as a virtual assistant this happens a lot) then a hug shows you care, you value them and that you’re sincere in your dealings.  That 2 second action can make your client feel so special and at the end of the day, nuture an even stronger relationship – professional or, as the lines often blur and clients become friends … a personal connection.

2 seconds.

If you’re not a hugger worry not.  There are plenty of other ways to show a personal connection, but be sincere, genuinely care about them and this will be portrayed to your client.  Your relationship will be stronger for it.  Other secret weapons for the less touchy feely are taking time in a phone call to ask them how it’s going – and listen.  Sending out personal thank you cards.  Coming across an inexpensive gift that makes you think about a certain client – then sending it to them with a note.  It doesn’t take much of an effort but the rewards are priceless – for you and your client.


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