Client service levels at Manage My Website have always been legendary. Here, Allie Astell, founder and Squarespace web designer, gives us her thoughts about our philosophy and why so much of our work comes in via repeat business and referrals.
About 10 years ago I was taken on as Media Manager at a publishing company. The day I was appointed, my new employer threw a book on my desk and told me to read it before I did anything else. It was called ‘Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service’ written by Ken Blanchard. The book gives tips, techniques and strategies to turn customers into raving fans – much of it seems obvious and some less so. It truly inspired me.
Decide, Discover, Deliver
In a nutshell, the main focus of the book is:
- Firstly “DECIDE What You Want” and create a vision of perfection centred on the customer.
- Secondly “DISCOVER What The Customer Wants” and check that it aligns with your vision.
- Thirdly “DELIVER The Vision Plus 1%”. In other words, go beyond your customers’ expectations a fraction, and then build that percentage up as time goes by.
As a result of reading Ken Blanchard’s book, after I founded Manage My Website back in 2009, I wrote our values down to keep them clear in my head and I made the decision that my clients would become raving fans.
Here’s how we’ve done it and how we’ll strive to continue to in 2017:
1. Know what we’re good at and make that our focus.
We excel at building and maintaining fantastic Squarespace websites. We’re also Online Marketing/Social Media Consultants. We won’t waiver from this or take on any new projects that take us away from our niche. We only do what we specialise in so that our clients always receive the best possible service and are never short-changed. We also always keep our fingers on the pulse of that’s new to ensure that our service remains innovative and interesting.
2. Give a great impression from first enquiry to project end.
As soon as a potential client contacts us, we reply within two hours (within UK office hours and sometimes out of hours). If we can help, we’ll let you know the cost for our services, and if we can’t we’ll be honest. We’ll never leave you hanging.
And when we’re working on a project, it’s vital that our clients never have to chase us and are always kept in the loop. You’ll have regular progress reports to ensure that you’re never left wondering which stage we’re at.
3. Choose who we work with.
Money and profit isn’t our main driver and never has been. Mutual respect is crucial, so we only work with clients and suppliers that we can have a great, long-lasting relationship with.
That means if we see an issue in communication or the way we’re being treated, we’ll politely decline certain projects.
4. Exceed our clients' expectations.
It’s a phrase that’s probably over-used these days and bandied about all over the place. But in our case we mean it.
Each and every client is important to us, no matter what they spend. Whether you have an £80 website tweak or a £5,000 website build, we’ll go above and beyond the call of duty to leave you a happy ‘raving fan’ who will recommend us to your friends and colleagues.
5. Give our clients as much control over their websites and hosting as possible so that they never feel that they're totally dependent on us.
We’ve had far too many people come to us in emergency situations with web designers who have gone AWOL, lost passwords or domains that aren’t even in their own name. The reason we love Squarespace is that everything is owned and controlled by our clients – we can help where required, but we can also hand over control 100% if that’s your preference.
6. Offer an on-call, super fast and ultra efficient service.
The majority of our websites launch within 4 to 6 weeks and each and every project we take on is treated with the utmost professionalism.
But sometimes a client requests specifically that they need their website to be built very quickly, sometimes within one or two weeks, with their web designer instantly available to them throughout working hours. It’s usually me, Allie, who takes on these SOS jobs for higher budgets.
7 Continue to provide those little extras that people love.
For example we try not to charge for every little change or question. If it only takes a minute to send a quick response or tweak a setting, we'll do it for free. If a client has an urgent request or issue on a Saturday morning or late one weekday evening, we will do our best to deal with it, if at all possible.
8. Be honest and open about charging.
If we ask for a budget, it's not to allow us to squeeze as much as we can out of our clients - it's to ensure you get as big a bang for your buck as we can muster! So if you’re asked that question please don’t be offended.
9. Never blind our customers with science.
Always be clear, concise and use layman's terms. Web design and online marketing isn't a dark art! That’s why we also offer Squarespace, social media and online marketing training.
10. Maintain a strong community ethic.
We donate a percentage of profits to charity and provide a discounted service to not-for-profits. We’re re-launching our website in early 2017 and will tell you more about the non-profits we work with then.
If you'd like to find out more about our services, please get in touch and we'll get right back to you.