Client Service (or its lack) Directly Impacts Business
Gladiola Lohja and Matt Greco
10.17.22 | Operations Chat
You’ve probably heard the words “exceeding client expectations” more than you’ve ever wanted to hear them in your life. And yet, we’ll bet you vividly remember the last time someone — an auto mechanic, physician, or colleague — failed to meet your expectations. That failure often had consequences. As such, as a business, it is essential to operate with a client-centric approach.
There are a number of tools and best practices that help businesses enhance and assess client/customer satisfaction. The following will discuss some options to do this, but it’s important to note that in order to really enhance and assess a business’ client/customer satisfaction levels, it is key for the business to have a clear understanding of who its clients/customers are.
Be There for Them
Client satisfaction begins with communication, keeping the lines open and ongoing — from onboarding to everyday interaction. Relationships flourish when they are constantly renewed and refreshed. Communication can be in multiple ways. For B2B companies, using email, text, phone, or zoom calls, content, and/or in-person visits are easy ways to drive a sustainable communication approach. In these instances, be brief, concise, and always helpful. Listen to their tone. Are they happy, concerned, distracted, or angry? Match your attitude and responses in ways that will improve the overall experience. Above all, respond to them as quickly as possible. If you can’t provide what they are asking for at that moment, acknowledge it anyway and tell them that you are on it and will get back to them at a specific (doable) time. For B2C companies, using social media as well as email and direct mail are easy and efficient ways to communicate directly and frequently to customers. In these instances, it is important to monitor, measure and analyze responses, customer interaction, and overall sentiment. There are a variety of tools out that help B2C companies stay and remain proactive in this approach—which is essential given the technology available to consumers today.
Measuring Client Service
How are you doing when it comes to client service? It’s not about guesswork – “Well, the client seemed happy the last time we met.” There are always ways to gauge how you are performing, including:
- Surveys (B2B/B2C): Ask a sampling of clients some specific questions about your service/product. These can include “what did you dislike about service/product?” and/or “what would you like to see in the future?” A proven metric called a Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a clear indicator of customer loyalty and satisfaction. NPS is calculated by asking one question: “On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product/company to a friend or colleague?” Your customers’ responses should be used to measure their experience and to predict business growth. (More on leveraging this in Results … and Rewards)
- In-person Interviews/Focus Groups (B2B/B2C): Some clients might prefer these, and it does give you a chance to go into more detail than a survey and, possibly, learn more about the client’s needs that you might not pick up through your general interaction.
- Client Advisory Board (B2B): Select a group of key clients who can meet regularly with you to offer feedback and their considered impressions of the overall company. As a byproduct, you might harvest some market change indicators and learn about service needs you could not have anticipated without their insights.
- Year-end Reviews (B2B): You should be having these with, at least, your most important/profitable clients. As a part of those meetings, set goals for the following year and keep track of your progress by meeting these goals on a timely basis.
- Watch That Revenue (B2B/B2C): Perhaps the most tangible measurement of your success is revenue from the client. An analysis of that revenue can tell you where you are performing well and where you may have failed to achieve their expectations. This also allows you to understand where to focus your resources in the future.
Results … and Rewards
Simply put, a Net Promoter Score balances detractors of a business with those who view the company favorably (promoters). Whatever the results (say 50% favorable, 40% unfavorable, 10% undecided), knowing its NPS will enable a business to know who is more likely to want to continue to do business with it and who may be potential referrals and product influencers. It is also useful to turn survey results into client success case studies and share them with employees to highlight best practices as well as with clients/customers to promote the business and enhance brand credibility/loyalty.
Gladiola Lohja, a Marketing Manager at Berdon LLP, is a highly experienced marketing professional who develops and executes marketing strategies in B2B professional services.
Matthew Greco is a Berdon LLP Marketing Associate working on numerous firm-wide business development initiatives, such as conducting research on prospects, their industries, and competitors.