“Clifford, you’re selling vitamins. You need to be selling medication.”
My friend Craig is a genius. We recently worked on a business concept together and realized pretty quickly it wasn’t working out. The long-term benefits were compelling (similar to taking vitamins – you get to find out if they work in 20 years), but there weren’t any pain points to create any immediate urgency. Luckily for the CI industry, acute pain points and urgency seem to be our daily bread. We identified the top four customer pain points last year and re-oriented our business around them. Here they are…
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Our clients perceive time, not money as their most precious resource. If we waste their time, they’ll find somewhere else to spend money. We overcame the Time pain point by setting expectations and not selling out of our own pockets. By resisting the urge to go downmarket or specify client-recommended products, we set up our customers for success down the road. While it’s tough sometimes during the sales process to stand our ground, we’ve found the long-term benefits of explaining our process and reasoning for specifying premium solutions far outweigh the few jobs we lose on price alone. We also stress the importance of showing up early for appointments and honoring our commitments to each other.
Our clients mean well and ask for solutions all the time they don’t actually want. By gently leading the conversation through the actual day-to-day use of the technology, we can usually refine the approach to simplify usability and save ourselves a ton of headaches down the road. We’ve overcome the Complexity pain point through excellent design and engineering, as well as dedicated project management services. Most projects succeed or fail during the design process, and it’s often overlooked amid the whirlwind of running a busy CI company.
Nobody likes feeling helpless. Especially at 9 p.m. on a Saturday during a party you’re trying to host. The Internet goes down, the music stops, and the lights stop working. Arrrrrgh! By helping our clients envision these scenarios, we build value in our proactive remote support solutions and describe their new system as a garden that needs tending and maintenance. We’re overcoming Helplessness with great system documentation and 24/7 remote support. We’ve also found tools like the OvrC Home app to be a fantastic way of helping the client understand they can easily reset naughty technology with their phone vs. having to climb inside the rack closet.
We’ve all received phone calls from clients after an event where their system didn’t work properly. They’re not angry with us because the technology didn’t work. They’re angry because they were embarrassed. What a horrible feeling! I had this feeling myself the other night when our TiVo didn’t work. My wife might have thrown the remote control at me. Maybe. It was a nice reminder of feeling embarrassed and made me empathize with our clients even more. We overcame the Embarrassment pain point with training and making sure the client can self-medicate. Before we leave a project in the client’s hands, we’ll break the system intentionally and see if they can fix it based on our training time together.
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A little empathy and common sense went long way toward re-calibrating our operation around pain points. Our referral business is up as a result with our clients repeatedly telling us in surveys they appreciate the extra time we spend to make sure they understand what to do when things go wrong.
What are you doing about customer pain points in your business?
Stay frosty and see you in the field.