According to an article in the Reader’s Digest, happy people thrive, are more creative and productive, have more friends, earn more money and live healthier lives than those with sour dispositions. It’s no secret a happy customer is the best kind to have. However, keeping clients satisfied isn’t always easy. Sometimes, even when you have done everything you thought was right, a customer’s smile can turn into a frown. Read on for suggestions from experts on how to turn your client’s frown upside down.
The best way to keep a customer happy, according to David M. Benson, a bankruptcy attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, is to “make a commitment to contact clients. Not maintaining contact with clients is the most common complaint made to” bar associations and disciplinary counsel, he says. Benson believes so strongly in this policy that he sets time aside each workday to return client phone calls. “Practicing law is only 50 percent legal. The rest is social and about relationship-building,” says Benson.
Prior to becoming a territory manager with Purple Wave Auctions, AJ Perisho was a business consultant for eight years. He has a keen interest in guerrilla marketing and studied the science of client relationship building with Jay Conrad Levinson, the founder of Guerrilla Marketing.
When faced with an unhappy client, Perisho suggests several tactics. Among them are:
Get the background information to help you assess the situation
Ask the client if there is something you can do to make them happy. If their suggestion is realistic, do it
Determine the value of the client to your business. For example, if they have the potential for being a lucrative, long-term customer, it’s best to do what you can to appease them. If , however, the transaction is a one-time deal, it’s wise to weigh your options
Don’t let it happen again
However, there might be customers who will be unhappy, no matter what you do to rectify a situation. In those cases, says Perisho, if the client says they just want their money back and move on, then “that’s just what has to be done.”
Benson says he rarely has an unhappy client, in good measure because he maintains some level of contact with them. However, in the few instances it has occurred, he stops to assess the client’s dissatisfaction. If a client complains, for example, that despite his best efforts, Benson isn’t keeping in touch with them often enough, he will up his interactions.
“There are ways to maintain contact without calling, like sending an email or even mailing documents relating to the client’s case,” says Benson. He has also learned in his decade of practicing bankruptcy law that oftentimes, the interaction is the first the client has ever had with a lawyer. “They don’t know what to expect,” he says.
However, despite his willingness to maintain open and consistent lines of communication with clients, Benson does draw a line in the sand. If, despite his best efforts, a client is still unhappy or their demands are simply unreasonable, Benson says he isn’t afraid to terminate his relationship with them.
“Sometimes, there is simply no way to please some people,” he says.