Across every industry, customers and clients expect a personalized experience that meets or exceeds the status quo. People want more than just good products and services. They’re looking for businesses they can connect with and return to for a superior experience.
You may be surprised to learn that it’s not hard to create happy clients when you apply a few basic principles that support your efforts. Here are some tips you can implement to boost happiness across the board:
1. Set clear expectations early
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Setting clear expectations is one of the most important aspects of building your client relationships and avoiding misunderstandings. But setting expectations requires more than clarifying what your clients can expect from your products and services. You also have to set clear expectations for the structure of your relationship including how and when your communications take place.
The expectations you set can be as simple as scheduling your phone calls ahead of time and letting your clients know you have a fifteen minute window for late calls, after which you’ll need to reschedule.
Let your clients know the reason you need to reschedule when they’re late by 15 minutes or more is because you might have other calls scheduled, so if they call you late, they won’t get their full time slot with you.
Schedule your calls to gain respect
Of course, you want to be available to answer questions and resolve issues, but you need to create a structure for when and how that happens so your time doesn’t get abused. This includes scheduling client calls ahead of time whenever possible.
Instead of playing phone tag and having impromptu conversations cut short due to other responsibilities, scheduling your calls tells your clients you’ve prioritized that time and have marked it out just for them. Your clients will respect you more when you don’t have a screaming toddler in the background.
2. Dig deeply to get clear on your client’s goals and motivations
When you’re working with a client in a situation that requires a long-term relationship to generate results, the most important thing you can do is get clear on their goals—the kind of clear that would make a freshly cleaned window jealous. If you don’t know every detail of what your clients want, where they want to be, and what’s motivating them to achieve it, how can you help them get there?
A great example of digging deeply to uncover root motivations happens in the fitness industry. Trainers certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) don’t set their weight loss clients up with the same standard routine. They get clear on their clients’ goals by discovering their individual needs and creating a custom routine for each person.
Nobody just wants to lose weight. There’s always an “in order to” behind the goal. And that’s what you need to get clear on.
For example, when an ACE certified personal trainer has a client whose ultimate goal is to be a great golfer, the trainer will relate everything to that goal by telling them the reason they’re performing a specific exercise is to loosen up their hip flexors so they can get a better golf swing.
Ask your clients as many questions as you possibly can to uncover the depths of the vision they’re holding for their life and their business. Sometimes you might discover that they don’t actually know what they want. In which case, you can help them clarify that. But find out before you take them on a journey toward a goal you aren’t certain they really want to achieve.
3. Develop and fine-tune your specialized systems or programs
No system is ever perfect the moment it’s launched. Fine tuning systems and structures is an infinitely ongoing project. And when those systems are your product—specifically designed to be implemented by your client’s business—ongoing adjustments are imperative.
For example, PinnacleART directly depends on their specialized systems and programs to get results for their clients. In other words, their systems to help businesses reduce risk, optimize cost, and improve safety are their products. And they’re highly successful at what they do.
Founded in 2006 by two Texas A&M grads, they’ve received recognition in the Aggie 100 for six years straight with an annual growth rate of more than 50 percent. This level of growth can only come from efficient systems that are continually being worked and reworked for success.
Scrap what doesn’t work and improve what does
In any business, your client satisfaction is rooted in your ability to work and rework the way you operate from the inside out. When you discover something that doesn’t work, scrap it and replace it with something that does. Businesses that achieve the highest levels of success are driven by organized and optimized systems.