It takes a big person to admit that their client relations needs a boost. However, regardless of whether you’re man or mouse, improving client satisfaction is straightforward enough that anyone can do it. In this post, we’ll offer a few key considerations for how to ensure satisfaction among your clients. However, before that, let’s quickly discuss why this is an important aspect of being a stellar web professional!
Answering the two most important questions right now
Let’s be blunt — many of you will have gotten to this point and asked two questions: what constitutes client satisfaction, and why should I even give a fig? Glad you asked! Let’s start at the beginning.
In very simple terms, “client satisfaction” is whether your clients are satisfied with your service. That’s probably too simplistic, so let’s expand on the concept. The satisfaction itself isn’t necessarily important, but how you measure it and deal with negative feedback is.
For example, you could conduct a survey asking whether your clients are pleased with the overall service. If the number of positive answers results in a lower than optimal percentage, you could then take action to make improvements.
Maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction benefits your business by building brand loyalty, and could result in more business (and money) coming to you.
When there’s a difference in opinion between you and your customer, it’s important that you deal with it professionally. This is especially true when you’re dealing with a potentially hairy subject. However, hitting the mark has plenty of benefits, much like any other positive customer interaction:
- You build brand loyalty.
- Clients see you’re willing to make the experience of working with you worthwhile.
- The good vibes you give off and cultivate could result in more business (and money) coming your way.
With this in mind, let’s look at how you can measure (and ensure) client satisfaction.
All hail our client satisfaction overlords (i.e. you)
To become the Dean of Client Satisfaction (a job title we’ve just made up), you’ll need to start to look into how you’re currently performing in this area. If you don’t already have a customer support channel, we recommend taking the time to browse through our archives in order to put one in place.
Assuming you have a support channel, analyzing how it currently operates gives you a solid base to work from. In our opinion, you’ll want to look at:
- How your current documentation and self-help support fares. Providing clients with documentation is a great way to offer support.
- Your total number of support requests over a fixed period. There’s nothing stopping you looking at every request you’ve received, but using a specific cut-off date will make it easier and give you the most recent data.
- How long you took to respond to each query. More specifically, you should look at the average time it takes you to reply to your client’s requests.
If you see any metrics you don’t like, driving down the numbers should be a major priority. You could also carry out random spot checks on your support to ensure client satisfaction remains high.
The goal is to see if your support meets the level you’re striving towards.
Carrying out spot checks, such as looking at a random sample of five interactions from the previous month, helps you analyze your support’s performance. It also gives you some distance to remove the emotional element that comes along with reviewing others’ work.
Finally, you’ll also want to look at something called your First Contact Resolution (FCR) rates. This basically looks at how many interactions it took to resolve a query, starting from the initial request. Keeping this as low as possible is vital for your satisfaction rating.
You can provide plenty of client satisfaction
So, your house is in order, and you’ve analyzed your capabilities of providing satisfaction internally (which sounds weirder than we meant it to). At this point, you’ll want to take things external, and ask your clients for their feedback.
The simplest approach is to send out a regular survey, with a happiness scale of some description (usually numbered), and an opportunity for the client to give feedback in a manner that suits them (usually a text field). It could be that this approach suffices, and you’re happy to work through support in this manner.
However, you should also consider your Net Promoter Score (NPS), which you can get by explicitly asking the question, “How likely would you be to recommend me to a friend or colleague?” By using a numbered scale here you can calculate a score and compare it to others in your industry.
Another take on this is to measure perceived customer effort, by asking how taxing it was to get a request resolved. Depending on the answers you receive, you should aim to improve your score.
Conclusion: How to ensure satisfaction
It’s tempting to just focus on the “sexy” aspects of your business, such as winning new clients, productivity hacks, and more. However, making sure your existing clients are happy gives them reason to keep coming back to you for their needs.
You’re like Barry White (but if he knew PHP).
We’ve spent this article talking about how to ensure client satisfaction, and there are two areas to consider: your internal metrics, and how your clients feel about your service. The former should affect the latter in as much as how you analyze that data. All that’s left is for you to join hands with your happy client base, and skip merrily away into the sunset (remembering to bill for the interaction, obviously).