Why do people do business with service providers? If you are a service provider of any kind, in many cases, people hire you because of your skill set and knowledge. Perhaps it is a skill set and knowledge base that your customers don’t have. By hiring you, they are saying, “I know this needs to be done, but I’m not sure how to do it.” Maybe a lack of know-how isn’t the issue, but they don’t have the resources that you have.
This is the service provider’s job: to know what they’re talking about. Own your role. Don’t stop at giving your customers exactly what they ask for. Maybe, with your experience and specific skills, you realize that you customer isn’t asking you for what they actually need.
Example: Pretend you’re a car mechanic. Someone drives into your shop and tells you that their car is making a weird noise and they want you to replace the transmission. Is that really what needs to be done? You would know, right? Do you make the costly, unnecessary repair? A better option would be to consult with your customer—using your knowledge base—to determine what they actually need from you. They’ll thank you for it and will bring their business back to you next time. You’ve built a relationship. If you had made the unnecessary repair, you technically would have done exactly what your customer asked for, but they would never trust you again once they got their car back only to find that the weird noise was still there.
Consider another example: You’re a wedding planner. Your clients think they know exactly where they want their reception to take place, and they know what caterer they want. They hired you to figure out the details and coordinate everything. But, you’ve planned a lot of weddings, and you know that the caterer they want gives a discount to weddings held at another venue. Would you not mention this to your clients?
This concept comes into play in our own office frequently. We design and print business cards. So, when we see that one of our customers is involved in an upcoming event, we contact them to make sure they have enough business cards on-hand. This shows our customers that we appreciate them and their businesses. We don’t want to see them ill-prepared. We know that they need plenty of quality business cards in order to make a good first impression on those they’ll meet at their event, so we reach out rather than assuming that they’ll contact us if they need something.
It’s that simple. You know your industry inside and out, right? Your customers have hired you for that knowledge. Make use of it! Tell us how you anticipate your customers’ needs.