“Only close attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class.” J.W. Marriott
I just returned from a long overdue vacation. The hotel location was superb (we were in Orlando, just minutes away from Disney). The staff was nice enough. The room was clean. There was a fine pool for the kids. However, I didn’t love the place. Had they just taken the room one step further, the experience would have been perfect. Ever consider what separates a great hotel from a good one? You can be in the middle of a city in a great location in just a decent hotel. What brings it to the next level? It’s the last 10 percent.
If the sheets had been a little nicer, if the toiletries had been more than a dime-sized amount for a week’s stay (I should mention that this place was more of a condo then a typical hotel room—designed for longer stays), if they had just gone a little further, I would be booking repeat business. Skipping out on that last few percent makes the difference between good and great.
Same story goes for the custom integrator. It is so easy to skip the last 10 percent. The client is still happy enough. Certainly they are happy enough not to complain. But, if you want them to be raving about you to their friends, you need to kick it up to the next level.
Here are five examples of how to impress your clients with the best “last 10 percent” possible:
Clean Up: While this may seem obvious, it is worth noting. Were you in the basement? Did you end up leaving dusty footprints on the hardwood floors? Did you clean up all the drywall dust on the rug? Did you remember to pick up all of your tools? (How many tools have been lost in attics?) Do you take away all of the cardboard, zip ties, and plastic bags? The house should look as it was when you came in, or even better.
Finish: Often a client may add on to the original system. Over the years I’ve learned to finish the original system before starting the add-ons. This allows you to bill for what has been done. A great way to be clear about the finish of the final phase is the “handing over of the manuals.” Put them in a nice big envelope for the client to keep in a safe spot. They’ll appreciate the gesture.
Training: The last step of any job is to train the client how to use the system. This should be a simple task because the system should be easy to use, but take it further. Once a job has been completed, my company gives our client a call within 48 hours to check to see how the system is running and ask if they feel comfortable using it. On any larger scale project we go back in 30 days to “retrain.” This gives the client time to use the system and compose a list of any questions and/or tweaks they desire.
Customize: Ask for their five favorite TV and music stations. Adding this to their customized remote will give their system that added touch. I assure you that Mom or Grandma or the babysitter will be happy not to have to remember where the Disney Channel is on your system. If you’re doing lighting or more automation, make sure that you do a page for both him and her. Make them both feel special.
K.I.T. (Keep in Touch): Don’t let the relationship end with the close of the system. Make sure you talk about (without pressure) the next phase and additional options. Let your client know that this is an ongoing relationship. Let them know of all the services you offer. (Maybe they don’t know you now offer networking packages) You should become their technology expert. Other great ways to touch base are through newsletters and social media. I like to drop a personal email every now and again, especially if I cross paths with a common friend or read about their business.
So the next time you’re finishing up that flat-panel hang, or home theater install, make sure you’re exceeding your client’s expectations. Or as J. W said, “Great companies are built by people who never stop thinking about ways to improve the business.” Improve yours by completing that last 10 percent.
How do you make sure you’re hitting that last 10 percent? Tell me in the comment section below.
Heather L. Sidorowicz is project manager/designer for Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.