Delight Your Clients! by John Stiernberg

December 15, 2011 by John Stiernberg

139-039Satisfied clients can become solid references, but delighted clients are evangelists for you and your mobile entertainment business. If the best thing that a client can say about you is, “They did OK and I have no complaints,” then you have not truly delighted them—and you’ve likely left money on the table. Do you truly delight your clients? What’s the difference anyway? How does it have an impact on revenue? This article addresses these issues and recommends three action tips for success.

SATISFIED VS DELIGHTED CLIENTS

Your competitors probably brag about their satisfied clients. It’s relatively easy to show up on time for the gig, make sure the audience has a good time, and act professionally during the course of the event. That’s all basic stuff that the client is paying for and should expect. Any less and they would not be satisfied. (Duh!)

Delighting clients occurs before, during, and after the gig. The experience of working with you and your firm exceeds the minimum and is noticeable to the client as a series of pleasant surprises. Following are examples of exceptional service that delights:

• In-person meeting to step through the contract details—a signing ceremony. This can be done by phone too.

•Specify the contact person for last-minute changes to production details and encourage the client to make special requests.

•Re-confirm the date a few days in advance. This is a big confidence-builder for the event planner.

•Provide a small gift to the producer, planner, bride and groom, or event host on the day of the show. How about chocolate that is molded in the shape of your company logo?

•Send two people to the event: 1) the DJ and 2) the road manager or sound and lights technician. Position the DJ as the entertainer, not the roadie or business person.

•Greet guests off-mic (if the situation allows) and ask for song requests. Work the room before the show.

•Send a written thank-you note.

•Follow up with a phone call to ask if the client would be willing to be a reference.

DELIGHTED CLIENTS ARE WORTH MORE

Why bother with the extras? There are two primary reasons to strive for delight vs. mere satisfaction. First, it’s easier on everyone (you and your staff included) so the show goes better. Second, you make more money. Delighted customers will pay more and will become part of your sales team. They can’t wait to brag to their friends, family, and colleagues about how smart they are to have hired you!

Here’s how this translates into money. Let’s say that the going rate for a show is $1,000 (just an example—your rates may vary). Can you charge $1,250 if you do extra things? Not always. Some clients need to stick to their budget and make the decision of who to hire based on price. Others want and will pay for a better mobile entertainment experience. Assuming that they have the funds, there are many clients who will step up to the higher price based on a combination of your reputation, your sales approach, and their special needs. Over time, your average fee per gig goes up because delighted clients send you referrals and hire you again at your prevailing rate.

HOW TO PLAN TO DELIGHT

You are likely adding some of the special touches already. In 2012, it will take more to compete effectively (read as “satisfy clients”) than ever before. Here are three suggestions for how to plan to delight:

Action Tip 1: Review your sales and client relations process. This starts with the initial contact and carries through the contract administration, the gig itself, and the post-event follow up. Make a checklist of all the elements of the client experience.

Action Tip 2: Rate your past performance. Did you delight or just satisfy? What could you have done better? Get input from key clients, including a range of good and bad gigs. Most people will respond courteously if you ask.

Action Tip 3: Identify opportunities to add value. Unless you are already the top paid act in your market, there are likely to be many little things that you can do differently and better. Remember that clients seldom remember what happened on the night of the show (for a variety of reasons…). They do remember what happened before and after. That’s where your biggest opportunities are.

As you complete the three steps above, involve your team as well as past clients. Their insights and creative ideas are valuable.

HERE’S THE POINT…

Satisfied clients may serve as references and may even hire you back. It’s the delighted clients that you can bank on in the future. Be sure to implement the Action Tips in sequence: 1) review your process, 2) rate your performance, and 3) identify new opportunities to add value.

Next issue we’ll go deeper into equipping your clients to drive business to you.

In the meantime, best wishes for success in mobile entertainment in 2012!

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John Stiernberg John Stiernberg (16 Posts)

John Stiernberg is the founder of Stiernberg Consulting (www.stiernberg.com), the premier business development consultancy serving the entertainment technology and music products industry. With over 25 years experience in these fields, he currently works with audio and music companies on strategic planning and market development. His book Succeeding In Music: Business Chops for Performers and Songwriters is published by Hal Leonard Books. Contact John via e-mail at john@stiernberg.com, find him on LinkedIn and Facebook, and follow him at http://twitter.com/JohnStiernberg.


Filed Under: Business, Issue #131, Personal Development, Sales & Marketing