Seth Godin often talks about saying YES!

While librarians say yes often, businesses sometimes say no, too fast and too vehemently to achieve customer satisfaction.  Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve made several trips to the bank.  In each visit, until today, I had asked my bank to do things that were in no way banking related.  In every instance, they said yes.

I walked away extremely satisfied and with one more thing on my TO DO list done because of those yeses.

I want to provide my clients with a yes for each request.  “Yes I can find that for you.  Yes, I can meet your deadline.  Yes I will give you an executive summary.  Yes, I’ll provide relevant links and documents to the full-text resources.  Yes the market and industry information will be included.  Yes you will have your answer.”

Last week I did a project for a new client and had the completed research delivered within several hours of the initial call.  The client reported that they were very satisfied and I think a big portion of that satisfaction came from my ability to say YES to the rather tight deadline.

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be times when compromises are required.  There exists the possibility that as a project begins, more time is needed or additional resources are required.  When I can’t say YES,  I say “I can do XY and Z but you may have to wait a bit longer for AB and C.”  Being up front about the ability to meet expectations just proves my understanding of the challenges involved in completing a complex project.

Clients understand those challenges and appreciate the up-front negotiation because they trust my Yes.  I trusted my bank’s yes and went about my other business knowing that those extracurricular services were just one more way to keep me a happy customer.

The real point of this post:  If you are providing a service of any sort, finding a way to say Yes to those out-of-the-box requests will serve you well.  Like my Granny always said:  “You attract more flies with honey than vinegar.”  So open up your honey jar and find ways to say yes.  The benefit will be loyal customers who provide referrals.

Constance Ard March 16, 2009