When working with clients, we often find it is obvious that they do not know if their clients are satisfied. They assume that if the client doesn’t tell them about it, the client is happy and will continue to work with them.
While it is a problem, it is a relatively simple one to solve. How? Ask your clients.
There are several ways to do so from a simple client satisfaction survey to more in-depth client interviews. Before we get into the mechanics of surveys or interviews, it may be helpful to know why asking your clients is a good idea.
You will likely discover potential issues with the client, which sounds like asking them would be a bad idea. But it is better to know if there are fixable problems before the client fires you and hires a competitor. We do not think it is a client’s responsibility to bring issues to you – it is your responsibility, as the service provider, to ask. Further, there are likely others in your market to service the client giving the client plenty of choices to hire someone else. Keep your finger on their pulse, so they do not exercise other options. Without asking, you may be the last to know that there were fixable issues.
This is your chance to uncover potential opportunities. If the client is generally satisfied, they may consider you for other services. The survey or interview should ask questions to find out what other needs the client has and who provides those services. You can also use this opportunity to make sure that the client understands the full range of services that you can provide.
Client satisfaction tools are an easy way to solicit positive client testimonials and reviews that can be used for marketing purposes. Depending on your profession, there may be compliance or ethical considerations on how you are able to use testimonials and reviews, so be careful before you implement the use of your clients’ kind words!
Did we convince you on why you should be talking to your clients? Okay, now, how do you go about it?
As mentioned above, you can either take a survey or interview.
This may be a more realistic approach due to time and money concerns. There are inexpensive tools that are available for client satisfaction surveys. One example is SurveyMonkey – it is easy to use and has features to see data and measure results. It is also an email tool, so you do not have to deal with envelopes, postage, printing, and everything else that is related to post mail.
If you decide to go “All-in” and do client interviews, you can uncover a lot of information and can interact with the client on a human level. As you can imagine, this takes much more time than a survey. One point to make is that a face-to-face interview may cause the client to hold back. Most people do not like confrontation or be comfortable expressing dissatisfaction. A possible solution, and probably a good idea, is to have somebody else do the interview. This other person could be a colleague, such as the top dog at your company, or there are outside agencies that can provide these services. An added benefit to this latter approach is that a third-party can ensure confidentiality if that is the client’s preference.
No matter which approach makes sense for you, pick one. Start small by picking and starting with just a few key clients. This will help you focus on specifics and hone your questions. And, once you see the positive comments, you’ll be inclined to keep going. One point of caution: don’t exclude “problem” clients, or those who you think will not give you good reviews. You could save your working relationship by showing that you value them.
There is an old saying that clients do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. One way to show your level of care is to simply ask. It is key to keeping satisfied clients. Satisfied clients are loyal clients. Loyal clients will send you repeat business and refer others to you. They will also be more apt to work with you to fix problems.
ESQuisite Marketing is a professional service marketing company with a niche in the legal industry. Clients include large and small law firms, solo practitioners, certified legal nurse consultants, public speakers, financial services firms, and nonprofits in the Lehigh Valley and throughout the U.S.