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Starting A Consulting Business: Differentiate Yourself From Others

by archi (follow)
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One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from other consultants and also feel great about yourself is to show that you truly care about your clients. This entails going above-and-beyond the basics of good customer service. As a business consultant, providing service and professional expert advice is your priority. However, maintaining an excellence customer service is a must if you would like to retain your clients and get more leads through referrals.

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What Makes Good Customer Service?

Remember to congratulate your clients on important milestones. As a consultant, there will be milestones that it would be natural to congratulate your client on, such as the scoring of a new deal. Also, when a client experience a loss, such as the death of a loved one due to cancer, sending a note of sympathy and donating to an anti-cancer organisation is a good gesture.

If you would not like to donate directly to a charity that your customer cares about, you should instead ask if there is a way you can help a particular cause. For example, you could collect donations from other clients or organise a fundraiser for the charity.

Consider hosting a party in which you invite all of the clients whom you are consulting, called a client appreciation party. Not only is the purpose behind the gesture obvious, but many clients will enjoy the opportunity to network.

Communication With Clients

While a printed letter can look very professional, a handwritten note can have a more personal touch for special occasions, such as if you are seeking to congratulate your client. If you have poor handwriting, ask someone else to write the note for you. Some clients are so impressed that they are then motivated to tell others about the incident. They often feel appreciated because of the time you must take to write the note.

Consider giving away free advice that isn't a core part of your service as a consultant, but related. Also, consider including special offers. Get into that customer service mindset.

Spoiling Your Client Moderately

If you intend to send a gift, the best option is one based on something that your client is interested in. For example, if you discover that your client enjoys fishing, offer a gift card for a fishing equipment store. This will demonstrate how well you know your client and that you have a customer service mindset.

Be willing to bend the rules and provide a customised experience. Think about how each client's situation is different. For example, if you normally only consult within a specific time slot, but a particular client cannot meet during this time slot, make an exception to your schedule. Also, devote as much time as possible to listening to your clients. In addition to allowing you to gather information essential in developing more-effective strategies, but your clients will feel like you care when they feel like you are listening.

Besides simply providing direct instruction to your client, make sure to ask probing questions to get a sense of whether you're meeting your client's needs. This will give the client a sense that he or she is being taken care of. Also, many clients will not think to assert themselves and will need to be prodded in order to obtain the information you need to help them.

Become a source of information for how your client can find service providers who perform services you do not. If you frequently work with clients who need IT installation and maintenance services, have a service provider already available to direct your client to.

Business And Non-Business Aspects Of Your Relationship

The longer your relationship with your client, the more it will seem natural to include the client in non-business activities. While you will still want to maintain a degree of professionalism in your communication with clients, spending more time with non-business matters can demonstrate that you do not simply see your clients as “clients,” but also as individuals. Besides improving your bottom line, by having the experience of providing excellent customer service, you will feel better about yourself as a professional by knowing that you are making someone else's work life better.

Training For Your Own Improvement
Running your own consulting business takes some serious adjustment. It is a major undertaking that can be daunting. But remember that even the best business consultant do need training from other mentors. Thus, receiving entrepreneurial training is another option. There are many types of online course available. Many of these courses are suitable for those who want to continue their professional development to become better leaders and educators. Receiving training courses online is doable too when you are busy running your own business.

Image Resource: Freepik.com

#Small business
#Customer Service
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