Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: client satisfaction

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to client satisfaction.

Does Customer Service Matter?

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice-President, Government Services at Eagle

Does Customer Service Matter?Is elite customer service the new competitive advantage or will the might of difficult economic times win over such that price is the only customer barometer? It’s true that many industries and buyers will use tough economic times to focus on driving price down, getting better rates from suppliers or simply culling their vendor list with an eye towards driving down price.

The IT Services Industry is certainly affected for both suppliers and contractors alike but time and again, research shows us there is a disconnect between what clients really value and what we may think they value.   A recent study of both vendors and customers underscored this disconnect when they asked each group why customers left.  While 59% of vendors cited the number 1 reason customers left was price, the reality was customers themselves said the number 1 reason by far was poor customer service. Furthermore, this is magnified by the fact that seemingly organizations are unaware of their own shortcomings in customer service. A recent Bain & Company study of the management of 300 organizations showed fully that 80% claimed their company had outstanding customer service, yet at the same time, they surveyed over 3000 of their customers of whom only 8%  said these same organizations had outstanding customer service — the disconnect continues.

The customer service experience of a dissatisfied client spreads through “word of mouth” and now the even more powerful social media channels with “word of mouse”, both of which can severely damage and/or devastate a business.  Many of us can assuredly relate to this in our own circles. Is it the stories of high prices or examples of appalling customer service that are shared with friends, family, and colleagues be it in our face to face interactions or online?

So what are we to make of all this? While it’s true we can never make price irrelevant, can our customer service be so good that our clients have no desire to explore our competition?  Can our clients be so enamored by our attention and elite service that they have no reason to leave us? Yes, it may be trite but aren’t we all in the people business and don’t we all want the best people experience in all of our commerce?

5 Ways to Find More Work with Each Client

By Andy Haynes at Freshbooks
This article originally appeared on the Freshbooks Blog on January 26th, 2015

Let me tell you a story about an entrepreneur who learned to find more work with a single client-and how you can do the same. Michelle is a client of mine. She had been working as a marketing consultant for almost a year and had landed a few good clients. Unfortunately, her biggest client, a rapidly growing app company, only used her for marketing copy; ignoring the other skills she could bring to the table.

Cracking the code

The client thought of her whenever copywriting work came up-but he’d hired others to help with his marketing strategy, long-form content and branding projects-all things that Michelle could have done well. She knew that soon the copywriting work would run out and, if she couldn’t crack the code that would convince the client to give her other marketing projects, she’d be facing a revenue crash.

The five step solution

Trying to convince clients you’re deserving of more work is a problem I’ve experienced many times over the years. Entrepreneurs, even veteran ones, often run the risk of getting pigeon-holed by their clients. Why? Because we often have to narrowly focus our message in order to land that first piece of business. Such is the power of first impressions: they create an anchor-an idea that clients hold onto-regarding who we are and what we can do for them. So, what I shared with Michelle were five tips I’d harvested over the years for overcoming a faulty first impression and expanding your opportunities with a client:

  1. Demonstrate your range of expertise with examples of different work you have done
  2. Offer to take part in strategy meetings; become part of the team
  3. Offer feedback on items beyond your current project
  4. Create new work to show your client what could be possible
  5. Add value by sharing ideas or strategies that have worked for other clients

The steps in action

To start redefining herself, Michelle asked her client for the opportunity to make a presentation. Her goal-to prove to him that she could add value to his business in ways he didn’t yet see. And the key to achieving her goal was the prep work she did before their meeting. She mapped out the strategies she would implement if she were marketing his firm. And she assembled a portfolio of work she’d done with other clients that demonstrated her ability to put those strategies into action. In a couple of cases, she even created new branding documents as examples of what she could do for him, if he trusted her with an expanded role.

In the meeting she started her pitch session by asking her client about his current marketing strategy and how effective it was. This gave her the opportunity to share her ideas and to back them up with the supporting examples she’d brought. He got excited when she shared branding ideas that had worked with other clients, and the pitch quickly turned into an exchange of new ideas for marketing his business in the coming year.

The final word

That presentation was only the beginning. When I checked in with Michelle a month later, she was thrilled. Her client had brought her in to consult on his marketing strategy for the rest of the year. He was no longer stuck on his faulty first impression and they were working together on a much broader range of projects.

Using the five steps that worked for Michelle can help you remove your client’s stubborn anchor. And, as you move forward with new clients, you can use those same strategies in your first pitch meeting to make sure you accurately represent the full range of your skills right from the start.

About the author: Andy Haynes is a writer for FreshBooks. He is the co-author of two best-selling business books, a successful entrepreneur and business consultant.

FreshBooks_logo[1]FreshBooks is the #1 cloud accounting solution designed for small business owners. They help everyone from the most fragile of businesses (many of them one person, first time owners) to the most vibrant businesses, collecting billions of dollars. FreshBooks is designed for service-based businesses. They uphold a longstanding tradition of providing extraordinary customer service and building a product that helps save customers time, pursue their passion and serve their customers.

Doing it Right

Sometimes it is hard work to do things the right way.  It is often easier to take shortcuts.
You have to actually remember stuff in order to do things the right way.  Flying by the seat of your pants is just that much easier.  You are busy so people can’t expect too much, right?

Can YOU hear yourself?  Hopefully not, because this person doesn’t CARE, and that sucks!

Here is the deal:Thumb Up

  1. Not doing it right it puts your reputation at risk. You sold yourself to your client by saying that you will do it right!
  2. Not doing it right impacts clients!
  3. Not doing it right impacts business partners!
  4. Not doing it right inconveniences people in other parts of the project!
  5. Not doing it right costs you a client, money or your next gig with an agency because they only want to work with contractors who do it right!

Good professionals do it right because they CARE. Good companies make sure they work with contractors who understand that doing it right is the only option!

Do you care enough? Do clients want to work with you again or are they happy to see you leave when the contract is over?