I recently wrote about the effect on superior customer service by local restaurant staff. As I plowed through some high profile projects in the last 30 days I saw the results of my efforts at doing everything possible to please my clients.
Here are my thoughts on this subject.
Ten things you can do to ensure customer satisfaction and a user experience that will be the best advertising you can buy and keep them coming back for more!
1. Explain upfront EXACTLY what your services will entail and make sure your client understands what you will and will not do. Contract terms need to be pointed out if you suspect they will not get the ins and outs. Don't gloss over anything that you know will create a 'situation'.
2. Explain constantly WHAT you are doing and WHY. Why it needs to be done, how your client will benefit, etc. Offer a realistic timeline on what is going to happen when.
3. Followup often, call or contact even though things may be going well to inform your client on the progress of your work.
4. Do not assume everything is going well! Find out if they have any questions or concerns along the way. Do not allow prolonged periods of time to elapse without touching base.
5. Under promise, overdeliver. Make your clients pleasantly surprised with your expertise. Keep them happy at all times. Give more than expected.
6. Do not leave loose ends untended. Wrap things up properly and make sure your client is well served in all phases of your agreement.
7. If the work is going to take a long time, or longer than expected, explain the contingencies that are creating a diversion in the expected time schedule. Bring up contract terms that impinge on your work and that may have been forgotten. A clear contract is very important as a reference of what has been agreed upon.
8. Get back to your clients as quickly as possible if they have questions. Do not leave them hanging for too long. If they are used to prompt responses, then continue on the same rate of communication. If you let time lag then they will lose confidence in you.
9. Use your instincts to determine how chummy you can be with a client. Do not get too personal with anything if it does not warrant that approach. Respond to some of their background and interests only if they mention it to you. Don't start any conversations about any personal hobbies, effects, cars, clothing, etc. unless they mention it to you. Keep out of their personal business and stay professional at all times. Keep joking down to an absolute minimum. Thousands and millions of dollars are at stake and levity is not warranted.
10. Followup after all the Ts are crossed and the Is dotted. Ask to make sure your client's expectations have been met and that they are pleased with the results. Offer anything else that you can do after your contractual obligations are completed.
11. (Bonus forwarded by Kathy Streib) We should be putting ourselves in the shoes of whom we serve to see how we can best act and improve our delivery. If we just did this, it would seem the entire process could be seamless and satisfactory on every level.
A satisfying user experience is paramount to the success of your business. If the above seem onerous or over the top, and you do not address these points in your typical procedure, I would suggest trying to do as much as possible on the next project and see how it turns out. It may seem like 'overselling' but it actually can keep a project from potentially falling apart, and you can best avoid a legal wrangle by being in timely communication during the entire terms of the agreement.
I am sure there are more points to be made here and welcome any disagreements or further suggestions.