Have you ever finished a meal at a restaurant and found the experience not worth your time and money? The waiter was not attentive enough, the food was stale, options were limited and finally you got the overall feeling that the management did not really appreciate your business as your attempts to request better service were ignored.
You just joined the dissatisfied customers club.
Could I get some service please? Picture credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mandj98/
Most know an unsatisfactory service when we are receiving it. Are we able to think for our own customers and go the extra mile to make their experience delightful?
p2w2 provides you with nuggets from the collective experience of all our users to make your more successful in building a lasting partnership with your customers.
p2w2 Blog had a great post recently on Pitfalls in Supplier Relationship Management. Interestingly, most of those points could apply in the other direction too. Suppliers too can at times get too fat and arrogant and succumb to the same pitfalls. They stop relating to the individual(s) behind the client organization, seek to squeeze too much by atrociously charging for every additional service request, adopt the “take it or leave it” approach when the client is trapped in a dire situation and finally, make every decision a matter of ego.
Another great post is on Freelancer Essentials, and it talks about how to establish as a reliable service provider. I will extend on these posts.
In my own career, I have gained a lot from working with seasoned professionals in customer relations. The need to manage clients and internal teams across the globe makes it even more challenging! This post draws from my experience on the bare essentials in establishing great relations with your clients.
View it from long-term client relationship perspective
The Expansive Relationship of Two Individuals as An Independent One. Picture Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/derricksphotos/
Brighten the relationship with out-of-work activities
Ask for feedback; Listen to your customer
Don’t pay lip service to listening to your customers. An often used, but usually poor strategy, is to use someone else (either outsourced, or a different administrative department) to survey your customers.
Your must ask for feedback frequently – what are we doing well for you? Where can we improve? Most people shy away from asking.
There are many benefits from asking for feedback.
First, it gives your client a platform to vent their feelings. You must patiently listen to her. That itself shows to the client that you give importance to her. You are one step closer to satisfying the client.
Second, it helps you narrow the gap between client’s expectations and your performance.
Third, you can figure out if there’s something you have but does not cost much for you but has a lot of value to your client. Discovering such aspects creates mutually beneficial relationship.
Put yourself in your client’s shoes
Bad news does not age well
The earlier you tell your client, the better the chance of working together on reducing the impact.
To deliver the message faster and to mitigate the impact, You can set up regular status meetings and using the meetings to disclose or warn about bad news. Being too early is better than being late at all.
Never defend the indefensible
Customer is never wrong about the results s/he wants
Part amicably when things are simply not working out
Keep track of your goal
and not losing sight of what we have set out to achieve – a successful, well run business – should keep us right on track! I would love to hear from you on any other advice you might have for us and your fellow small business colleagues here at P2W2. Please do leave your comments!