“It takes months to find a customer [or client] … seconds to lose one.” – Vince Lombardi.
There is no doubt that advances in transportation and communication technology have led to the acceleration of globalisation. With an unlimited access to products, technology, and information across national borders it has become increasingly difficult for businesses to rely on the location and quality of their products or services as a key selling point for client attraction and retention. As a result of this, client satisfaction is taking centre stage as the key selling point for businesses (of course, without compromising the quality of the product or service).
Clients and their satisfaction should be at the core of every business. It goes without saying that keeping them happy is vital to ensuring the longevity of your client relationships and business.
Let’s consider some of the ways your business can become client-centric.
Anticipate client needs
The ability to be proactive and predict a client’s short, medium, and long-term needs can keep your business one step ahead of any competitors. It is important to be proactive with your client service. If you sense a client might need your help, reach out to them proactively, instead of waiting around for them to contact you first. Look to solve problems experienced by clients when designing and developing your next product or service line or improving your existing product or service line.
Collect honest client feedback
To get honest and relevant client feedback, you need to be asking the right questions at the right time. You also need to create a seamless experience for your clients to complete this process. If it requires too much effort for them to provide feedback, most of them won’t even bother.
Communicating with your clients frequently is a great way to understand whether your product or service has any shortfalls or if your client has specific needs that you are not attending to. This will help you meet your clients’ needs and expectations. Here are some well-known methods of collecting client feedback:
• Direct telephone calls or meetings.
Be easily accessible
Being accessible to clients can increase client satisfaction and retention. If a client can no longer or easily use your products or services, they will most likely go do business elsewhere. Clients are likely to get frustrated if you make them wait long to speak to a client support or sales consultant.
Think of ways to break-down communication barriers between you and your clients. Some methods could include:
• Ensuring that each client is aware of whom their key contact person is and that there is a clear and direct way of contacting that person.
• Creating a WhatsApp Business account which is handled by a well-designed bot and monitored by a dedicated employee.
• Introducing and encouraging the use of project management or bug-ticketing software.
Meet with clients face-to-face
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in many businesses adopting a culture of working remotely when it comes to engaging with clients and employees. This has resulted in a shift from face-to-face meetings to meeting “virtually” through communication channels such as Zoom.
Re-establishing client relations and making a point of visiting clients personally can have a significant impact on a client’s loyalty to your product or service. Although it requires more effort, this is possibly the most valuable and effective way of communicating with your clients. Although virtual meetings and emails serve a certain purpose, if you can increase the number of direct interactions you have with your clients, you should certainly do so.
The benefits of meeting in-person are many and include allowing you to better read and interpret body language as well as develop transparency and trust with your client.
Associate employee culture to consumer results
The saying “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” applies to client-centricity, too. Executives and managers will be motivated and prepared to cultivate a client-centric culture within a business if they know if and how it impacts results. For this reason, businesses should make sure that they establish and follow the link between culture and client impact. Generally, if employees feel good about their company, their clients will too.
Becoming a client-centric business is difficult to master, but once you get it right, your business will be well on its way to capturing and maintaining market share.
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