Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Information as a Concierge Service

Think of the term concierge and you probably think of a hotel, luxury, and at demand service. The term has really grown to encompass the idea of extra customer service.

In the real estate industry, concierge has come to mean a selection of home improvement, home repair, and home maintenance services - usually preferred vendors that homeowners can select or request their realtor to find and provide.

The real estate industry illustrates how concierge can be broadened to mean extra or even premium customer service. Which is to say, service the customer, retain the customer, and kill them with customer service.

Likewise, this idea of extra customer service can be applied to information as well. In a previous post, I talked about the virtues of repetition. In the context of information presentation slash information concierge, repetition can be used to service your customers.

Imagine that your customers (or even prospects) are way too busy to remember all the information you want them to remember. (This is probably also the real life case in 99% of your customers) How do you get your customers to do what you want them to do?

The Answer: Pretend you are an information concierge. Attend to them and send them reminders. Present the information right before their face. Lead your customers (and prospects) to take the action YOU want them to take.

As an example, I recently brokered a deal for a contractor friend. He told me he still needed the forms and agreements signed. I said sure, I'll let the client know - send them everything you just told me in an email and I'll be sure that the client gets it and signs it.

The contractor didn't like that and had a problem with it. He felt that everything was in the contract and that it should have been clear. Eventually, the contractor agreed - but what did the contractor fail to see initially?

He failed to see 2 critical things 1) the client is too busy - and made a quick decision and 2) this was an opportunity to engage his customer - the people who are responsible for cutting the check.

What's the lesson? Information concierge is about realizing and assuming that your customer and prospect is too busy for YOUR details. If you have details that are important - take the iniative!

Information concierge is about engaging your customer. The cost of acquiring a customer is higher than retaining one. So once you've acquired once, why not start off right and keep engaging them?

In the case of my contractor friend, all he needed to do was to send a quick email thanking the client for the business, appreciating the opportunity, and that as a reminder, the forms and agreements must be signed before the project begins.

This interaction would have quickly put the contractor in connection with the customer. It is information as a concierge service.

Remember - Information as a Concierge Service:
1) Assume the customer or prospect is too busy
2) Present the important information in a way to LEAD the customer to take the action you want them to take
3) Present the information so that the customer doesn't have to think
4) Engage and engage and engage your customer
5) Repeat yourself and do not hesistate to repeat yourself


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