What gaps haven’t you closed?

“Don’t make your customers do math.”

That’s been a revelation for us at the end of a long road and the beginning of a new phase of our journey. We’ll get into its meaning—and why it’s likely a crucial note for you too—but first, a bit about that road.

This month, our new VP of Client Services, Blaire Kotsikopoulosjoins us after a year-long search to fill the positionIt was grueling at times, but all seems to have turned out exactly as it was supposed to be. I’m so glad, looking back, that Arcbound found Blaire, and Blaire found Arcbound.

Blaire knows how to build incredible client service organizations. She’s done it three times over,  leading the Client Services Division at TrackMaven, a marketing insights company, from $0-$10M; before helping Skyword, a content marketing organization, reach new heights; and then serving as a major difference-maker at BERA, an ROI platform for brand-building. She truly gets software, product, and the combination of brand, content, and social, bringing knowledge and skills that will help us knit together Arcbound’s services to build you the best personal brand possible.

For her next move, as she told me during the interview process, she wanted “to land on fertile ground.” With a market size of $119B across the industries we serve and the people who need to establish and spread their message, this is certainly fertile ground.

At Arcbound, we support clients in every phase of their brand journey (brand identity, visual identity, brand strategy, omnichannel content development, community building, website development, podcasting, short-form video, and book ghostwriting). That was the vision we had five years ago. Bringing it all together—and helping clients understand how these phases connect to one another for maximum impact—is where Blaire comes in.

Beyond creating an exceptional client experience with continuity and proper education, she’ll be leading our client service team to support all services we have today and build new ones into our ecosystem.

Mind the Gap

To gear up for her role, Blaire embarked on a client roadshow, meeting with our community online and in person to understand what’s been working, what hasn’t, and where they need more education, support, or services.

As she dug in, she was reminded of an important universal truth. In a note to the Arcbound  team, she wrote, “for ourselves and for our customers, there is very likely to be some white space between the ways we want to be perceived and how we, in fact, are perceived.”

That’s likely true for you, too, both personally and professionally. It’s up to all of us to identify the gaps in how we want to be perceived and how we are perceived and determine how to close them.

Blaire’s job, as she explained, “is to help us all see, then understand and deliver a unified, premium, predictable, and manageable customer experience that reflects and reinforces our brand from presales all the way through.”

So, what’s your job?

How can you help your customers see the version of you that you want them to see?

What might you have to change or add or subtract to help them come to that conclusion about you, your brand, or your organization?

Do the Math

That brings us to our opening line, and what’s become a mantra of sorts: “Don’t make your customers do math.”

What does it mean?

When you have a brand, personal or organizational, part of others’ perception is about cost—and worth. Essentially, “Am I getting what I’m paying for?” That cost isn’t always financial; it could be in the form of time, or energy, or even space on someone’s social media feed.

When there’s a gap between what you think you’re selling and what they think they’re buying, those calculations start. People begin to wonder whether they’re really getting what they signed up for. And when resources are scarce—as they inevitably are in this day and age—they make choices about what to keep and what to drop or where to invest and where to cut back.

Meanwhile, when you close the gap between how you want to be perceived and others’ perception of you, you don’t have to worry as much about customers coming to their own conclusions about the value you provide.

Think of it this way, you don’t walk out of an Apple Store and question the cost of your purchase, wondering why the tablet you got is $800 when you can get one somewhere else for $60, because the product and experience is so good. Apple has done the work of educating consumers on what they’re getting for their money.

For us, it’s become clear that we have work to do when it comes to educating clients on the journey on which we’re taking them, how the various components of our work ladder up to the brand they want to create, and closing the gaps of perception for their audiences. That’s the math Blaire will be doing in her role.

This is the perfect time to take stock of where you’ve been, where you want to go, and adjust your plans to fill the gaps in the New Year.

What math do you have to do to improve the experience for your customers or audiences?

What dots do you have to connect to save them the effort and demonstrate your worth?

If you don’t know, perhaps it’s time to head out on a roadshow of your own, getting the feedback necessary to help you get to the next level.