The Burger Joint
The place grabbed my attention because it was new and the design was clean and simple. Sure enough, they only sold burgers and fries. So I sat down at a white counter furnished with yellow and red plastic squeeze bottles and ordered a cheeseburger and a Diet Coke.
My waiter who doubled as the cook threw my burger on the grill. Just as it began to sizzle, a cell phone rang from his thigh. He reached for it, and said hello. To be courteous I suppose, he walked to the back so as not to disturb his customers with his conversation.
I watched with bewildered amusement. I was not dying of thirst mind you, but when you order a soda from the fountain, your lips tend to parch for a straw. His lighthearted conversation lasted 50 to 60 seconds. When he returned to his duties, he poured my tardy soda.
My cheeseburger came and went. It was really good. Served on a fresh potato bun, the pickles and onions were a perfect compliment to a perfectly sized patty. The other server behind the counter brought me my bill and asked if I liked it.
I told him I did and he told me they were new to the city and were excited about future franchises. I wished him luck, paid my bill, and then walked back over to my server to give him a tip.
"You gotta learn something here," I said nervously. He listened as I explained that having a personal cell phone conversation while at work, which results in your customer receiving less than stellar service is an egregious error.
I handed him $3 and walked out.
Now substitute "The Burger Joint" with the name of the media property you represent, and me with "advertiser."
Your media product does a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to attracting business. The packaging, the design, the content, and the quality of the audience all combine to attract potential advertisers the way the smell of burgers on a grill draw a crowd around a barbeque.
Channeling these benefits through all of your sales communication is the fun part of the job, servicing customers who pay for a meal is where you earn your keep.
Service style is unique to each seller. It is hard to define "three easy steps" to better servicing, but I can provide you three things you can focus on in this area.
1. Own the Responsibility Securing tickets to a show, setting up car service pick-ups, and showing up to meetings with just the right delicacy is not the most glamorous part of the job and yet it does more to define you in the eyes of your clients than any presentations you make.
Own this responsibility regardless of the task, and even more so, demand nothing but the utmost attention to detail by those in your company that directly affect the satisfaction of your clients. This is where you must truly assert yourself inside your own building.
2. Creativity Anyone can send a checking copy or a digital tear sheet to a client. How can you make this relatively mundane task stand out? Easy, make it relevant while reinforcing your client's decision to advertise with you.
For example; "Dear client, in this week's issue, we introduce our readers to the top managers in today's business and a better way to manage their money with First Republic Bank on page 67."
Everyone on the media plan must complete this and other relatively mundane tasks. Use these opportunities to creatively rise above your competition.
3. Consistency Do not set the bar too high. Sending a stretch limo for a client to meet you for lunch sounds like an extravagant example of great service, however, you cannot maintain that routine. Make sure no matter what you do, you can replicate your level of service easily.
Ultimately, clients are consumers too, enduring poor service more times than they care to remember. Make sure it does not happen on your clock when they choose your "restaurant" and they will come back time and again.