How do you make your clients feel?
Do your clients look forward to your correspondence? Or do they dread hearing your latest sob story?
Even if your head is spinning from an already-busy workweek, or your Monday didn’t run as well as you’d hoped, when it comes to your relationships with your clients, you best keep your negative business to yourself.
I’ve noticed a serious increase in negative attitudes in the professional world over the last few years. Maybe too many people became too friendly and forgot the importance of professionalism. Perhaps it’s this new culture of over-sharing. (If you’re posting to Facebook on the hour and Instagramming your breakfast every day, it might be time to step away from the computer for a week…or a month.)
Maybe people feel the world is more open and accepting than in past decades. There’s a pervasive team-like atmosphere of friendliness (which is great), but many professionals confuse this openness with an opportunity to share too much information about the ups and downs of the job at hand. Friendliness need not open the door to over-sharing about every little thing, or serve as an excuse for being openly negative whenever you feel like it.
Whatever the reason, it’s no reason to approach your clients with anything other than a positive attitude on a regular basis, whether you feel like it or not.
Service with a Smile
Maintaining an attitude of positivity will boost your brand and your business. No one wants to work with someone who’s always bringing everyone else down. So if you’re overly negative on a regular basis, don’t expect repeat business. Positive behavior attracts positive clients.
First of all, being positive is professional. Second of all, it’s only fair. We all have crappy days, but we suck it up and show the world our best face for the benefit of our clients and because we value our work and our business.
Let me be blunt: As your client, I don’t want to know how you ran into problems or that you’re having a week riddled with inconveniences. I gave you a project and I expect you to get it done on time and with a smile. I don’t want to know that you moved heaven and earth to complete it, because when I hired you, you said you could do it.
(Note: Of course there are exceptions—but I’m not talking about serious problems here. Life happens to all of us. I’m talking about general negativity and excuses. There’s a big difference. Regardless, you should always avoid dumping your negativity into your client’s lap.)
How does the following message make you feel?
“The documents should be uploading, but I had to get out of the office before I missed the last Train A. (Otherwise I have to take Train B, which takes me three times as long—plus, it’s raining here.) Thought I’d let you know before my phone dies.”
Could this person be more negative? First of all, no word if the documents actually uploaded (which is certainly the client’s biggest concern). Secondly, the rest of the message seems to be written only for the purpose of complaining. What value does a message like this offer the client? Nada. Your client doesn’t want to know you’re having a cold, rainy night working late. Your client wants to be reassured their project is moving forward. All the previous message did was creating a swarm of negative energy surrounding the project.
Instead, try this…
“I’ve really enjoyed working on your project this week. I’m very much looking forward to showing you the end result, which I’ll be sending over first thing tomorrow morning so you’ll have plenty of time to review before our meeting Friday. See you soon!”
Notice the energy difference! The positive message ensures the client feels special, and that they’ll be in a good mood when they next interact with the both you and the project you’re working on. They’ll be ready to go with fresh ideas and enthusiasm, because you a.) Made it happen on time, and b.) Deliberately created an atmosphere of positivity.
Positive Energy is Key
Never underestimate the power of a smile or a high-energy attitude. Energy is key—it can make or break you. Life is a head-game. When things get you down, put your best foot forward, especially when it comes to your business and your brand. If you need to vent, call up a friend or write a letter you won’t send. Just keep your negative business away from your clients.
Did you know that just the act of smiling will make you feel better? Try it! People around you will feel better, too. Let me start you off…
We’re supposed to enjoy our life and the people in it. People will appreciate you more if you make them feel good, rather than detailing how you moved mountains to help them. And did I mention, positive behavior attracts positive clients?
So make your clients feel special—and always perform to the quality and positive service they expect out of your professional relationship. Don’t forget to smile!