October 7, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Client Satisfaction

Client satisfaction is an objective for which every business owner must strive. What does that phrase mean? Doesn’t every business want to satisfy the client in every business transaction? Doesn’t every business maintain that they always provide client satisfaction every day? Providing client satisfaction is one of those objectives that sounds so great when we hear it or when we say it ourselves. What does it actually mean in our business lives?

When any business contracts with a client, there are certain requirements on the part of each partner in that transaction. The client agrees to remit an agreed upon payment in return for delivery of a product or service. When those requirements are fulfilled, the contract is said to be completed and everyone is believed to be happy. What about when one of the partners in the transaction is not happy even though the terms of the contract have been fulfilled?

In every transaction there may be problems in its completion. Just the fact that your business delivers the expected product or service to the client does not mean that they are happy with the transaction. Was the transaction completed on time; was the product or service that was delivered as it was expected by the client? Was it the correct color, shade of color, size, or composition? Did the product perform as expected or did the installer provide the expected service? What about delays by customer service, or was the customer service representative rude or not well trained? Is there adequate or correct documentation?

All these questions and many more, may “taint” the buying experience for the client. The client may receive the product or service which the sale involved, but was the experience pleasant or was there something that doesn’t “sit well” with the client. You may believe that delivering the expected product or service is enough, but how you do it may destroy your relationship with the client for the future. Being unaware, or uncaring, of the mental state of the client after the sale is completed may doom your future business with that client.

Do you ever follow up with clients and ask them how they feel about their buying experience? Do you ever actually thank them for their business, either at the point of delivery, or later, or both? If they do not enjoy the buying experience they will not recommend your business to anyone else. They might like the product or service that you provided, but they may hate the experience that resulted in their obtaining whatever you sold to them. They will go elsewhere the next time that they have a need, and they will refer their friends to that same provider.

By staying in contact with your clients, you open the lines of communication and allow your clients to be comfortable enough to be honest with you. If they are not comfortable in their relationship with you, they will not continue to do business with you and will send others elsewhere when referrals are involved. Delivering a product or service may not be enough; how did you follow through during the process or afterwards?

Businesses must stay in contact with clients, asking them if there was any problem with their satisfaction with transactions that may, or may not, have gone correctly. What do they really think about you, your product or service, or the buying experience? Unless you actually ask, you may never know for sure. Please leave your comments regarding your experiences, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. Have you ever contacted a former client who “fired” your business? Do you know why they fired you?

1 comment:

  1. As Jeffrey Gitomer says, "Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless."
    Doing your job and giving the customer what he or she is paying you to do is no guarantee they will come back. You must make them feel important and special - that's what differentiates!