Make Your Clients Fall in Love With You
This blog is in two parts. First, we're talking about money (whoop to the MAXIMILLION). Then we're talking Covid (Boooo! I know). Let's go.
PART 1: Money
In my 20s, I started saving 10% of everything I earned. This is because I discovered the holy grail of financial advice, Suze Ormonde. Canadians are basically the bomb dot com. I largely credit her with helping me to become an adult with my money. What does this have to do with my lesson in customer service? A whole lot.
By the time I was in my 30s, I'd made a million rand. I owned property. I was totally jazzed that I, a poor-as-ass chick from Johannesburg, had managed to get my finances together. Go me.
(If you know anything about the South African rand, it's that a million of them is basically nothing. It's sad but true. Still, this was big for me. I'd become financially independent. I grew up in the home of an alcoholic, who had lost us our house, our financial freedom, the lot. So, this was big for me.)
And I couldn't have done it without the absolutely incredible help from my financial advisor.
I approached them in the late 2000s to ask for their assistance. All my money was in my bank account. Major fail. Poor move. This was not going to work.
Little did I know that by hiring this company, I would learn one of the greatest lessons in customer service that I've ever experienced.
There is a gentleman who works there. I can't give you his name, the reason for which will become clear soon. But he singlehandedly helped this freelancer accumulate wealth in an economy that is essentially broken. Not because he's the best (but he probably is). Not because he's the most expensive (he really isn't, and it's alarming). But because he believes in doing his job, and doing it with absolute excellence. Nothing else is acceptable to him.
When I told him that I had quite a bit of money in my account and that it was sitting there, doing NOTHING, he looked at me the way he's looked at me a few times since then. Not with pity, per se. More like...confusion.
He told me to buy unit trusts. I freaked OUT. No. Absolutely not. I was not going to spend this money on anything. I think that he thought I was deeply stupid. Eventually, he said to me, 'Ashleigh, you are not SPENDING THE MONEY. You are INVESTING IT. YOU ARE MAKING IT BIGGER.' Oh, this sounded good. If there's one thing I love more than money, it's money that gets bigger. Obvs, I was in.
When we met to sign the paperwork, I had cold feet. I kept saying to him...'but what if I lose it all? What if I lose all my money and end up poor, living in a forest, with nothing but the insects and the voices in my head for company?'
He reminded me that that was why we weren't investing the money aggressively. We were being super-responsible and investing on platforms that weren't going to crack and fall apart. The money would sit in a stable environment and just grow slowly. Like wisteria. Or aloe vera. Or my understanding of unit trusts.
And that began my relationship with One Wealth, and investing. My financial advisor has been with me every step of the way. I trust him. And I don't trust anyone.
PART 2: Covid19
Covid19 is decimating my country. As I write this, 11 403 people are being infected every single day. 2.46 million people have been infected. 72 191 people have died. The healthcare system is completely overwhelmed. People are lying on stretchers in the corridors of hospitals. The country has just been put back into another lockdown. The vaccination programme has already been thwarted by corruption.
Almost everyone I know in South Africa has had Covid. If you read my blog a few weeks ago, you'll know that my father-in-law passed away from it. It's been rough.
One of the things that I did a few years ago was to introduce my in-laws to my financial advisor. He took them under his wing and he helped them with their finances.
When my father-in-law got really ill and was hospitalised, we realised that we needed to look at all the policies and sort everything out. We called my advisor at One Wealth. He had Covid. He was very, very ill. And he was 100% there for my husband and my mother-in-law. This is why I don't want to name him, to protect his medical privacy.
Despite being so very sick, he sorted everything out. He made phone calls. He sorted through the policies. He made sure that my husband's mother was going to be all right. That's not just customer service...that's a totally first-class, unbelievable human being.
Excellent Customer Service on Crack
The absolute commitment this man showed to his work, and to my family, has made me think long and hard about customer service. I believe the customer service I provide is really good. Would I be there for my clients in the middle of a Covid diagnosis, feeling like my lungs were going to collapse? I don't know. I hope I would be.
Covid or no, these are the things we should all be thinking about when it comes to first-class, phenomenal customer service:
1. Turn problems into solutions
Providing excellent customer service means that you need to be persuasive. When you turn a challenge into a positive experience, your customers are likely to spend more money with you, and they're likely to stay loyal with a capital L.
2. Empathy is KEY
70% of buying experiences are based on how a customer is being treated. 70%!! That is an INSANELY HIGH percentage. While we (the business owners) are thinking in $$$$s, our customers are thinking in...
Best you get that empathy groove on.
3. Tech is queen
Your customers are going to contact you in a ton of different ways. I contact my financial advisor on WhatsApp and email. And he is always there. He never misses it. Make sure your CRM, phone, email, laptop, whatever are set up like a pro machine of communication fabooshness. Your customers want to feel like they're the bee's knees. Don't miss their comms.
4. Just. Be. Human
We could talk about all kinds of other things in this post. We could talk about having good communication skills, listening to what your client is saying, being on time...it all boils down to treating your clients with respect. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am never going to tell you to be a doormat. If that client is treating you badly, that client has gotta go. We're never ever going to allow anyone to walk all over us, remember? But treating everyone we meet with kindness and humanity is going to take your business to a whole other level.
If you're in South Africa
...and you need a financial advisor, you should contact him. Pop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share his name and contact number with you.
Be You. Always. Everywhere.
Ashleigh is a copywriter who helps women find their authentic voices, so they can weave it into their business and their branding, and rise. Boom.For real conversations, join her Facebook group here - Make a Song and Dance: Female Business Owners, RISING
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