Many people might say that they try to make their clients happy but at the end of the day it is really not what they practice.
I also have to admit that making your clients happy is not an easy task to do. In some occasions you might have to step away from some clients because you can see they are never happy. I have turned away multiple opportunities because they just brought income in but I never saw that the customer was happy.
Is there a Formula to make your clients happy?
Having worked for multiple years as an advisor for many companies working directly with clients at different levels I can say that I don’t really think there is a specific formula for everyone but this is one that works for me and gives me peace of mind.
Yes different to many of my peers and competitors I do consider Peace Of Mind an important factor on how I conduct business. In many occasions I have taken Peace Of Mind over making a lot more income but at the end of the day I felt I did the right thing ethically and for the well being of myself and those around me (including the client).
Here are a few things I do in trying to make my clients happy which also give me the result of enjoying everything I do even more.
I try to respond to my clients as quickly as possible. I don’t always have a complete answer but the fact that I let them know that I am working towards getting them the right answer does make some of my clients happy.
I also have other ex-clients (which I have gotten rid of) that just because I answered an email at 1am replying back that I got there message means I have to drop everything at 1am and get them an answer even when there is no need for an emergency response. I look a the criticality of the event and how it might impact my client if it can wait till the next day and I am working on something I let them know I have it on my list of priorities (every client inquiry is on my list of priorities).
The clients that appreciate what I do are always very thankful that I answer back as quickly as possible. They appreciate that I am communicating with them that I will get to it at my earliest possible moment. The other ones, which keep pushing the envelope, I end up finishing my relationships with them in a cordial way and I don’t accept more work from them.
Establish Clear Metrics and Goals
Where I have to blame myself on not meeting expectations is when I accidentally don’t set clear expectations with my client. I might have missed a detail and the client was expecting it. In that case I give the client what they want as long as it is a fair request. When I approach clients I try to get an understanding as to what they want. Once I have that I create a proposal or statement of work with the details of how I will approach the project they are interested in having me help them with. I usually give them a quick overview and I also budget time in the project to go into more detail before we have more formal understanding that is document to continue with the project.
An Assessment for More Detail
For complex projects I do a current state assessment, which helps me get a clear understanding of where my client is. Once I have a clear understanding where they are standing and what they have in place I can create two other documents, which are a Future State Assessment, a best-case scenario on where my client should be. The part that becomes more detailed is the road map that will take my client from current state to future state.
Using these methods I make sure my clients has a clear understanding of what we need to get done.
Where I think many of us fail even myself sometimes is keeping any effort with clients as simple as possible without sacrificing results. As an IT Auditor I did see how all the time individuals would come in and set up a business continuity plan that would take years for someone to read it. They wanted to make sure to cover all the aspects of Business Continuity but did not have a slim down version so all employees had an idea on the most critical things that should happen if the business was impacted and brought to a halt. On a few occasions I Did work on simplifying the documentation so it met the requirements of the regulators but most importantly it served the purpose of actually keeping the business running if any emergency occurred.
In my case I have switched many of my clients websites from Drupal to WordPress in more than one occasion I did it with no cost to them. I did see how my clients where having problems with using the interface so I laid out another way so they could update there website and blog in an easier way. Yes in some cases I had to give them free services but for me it was critical that they could continue building their online presence with less obstacles.
There are many other ways that I try to approach keeping my customers happy and I do fail in many occasions so I continue trying.
What do you do to keep your customers happy?
I will write a few more posts on the subject so if you want to read them feel free to subscribe to receive my blog via email.