Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Client Reality Check

Are your clients happy with the service you are providing? Are you sure? Really, really sure?

I had a conversation yesterday with a friend who is CEO of a local company. He is ready to fire one of his primary vendors, even though they have a long history of working together and have developed a personal friendship. The bad news is that he feels that he can get better service for a more competitive price elsewhere. He shared with me that the price is not the reason for switching, just an added bonus. He is very disappointed with the lack of attention he gets from his friend's firm.

Meanwhile the vendor thinks that this guy is his best client. He has no idea that the person feels neglected and that his customer service is sub-standard. They have worked together for so long that he thinks he knows what this client needs, (in fact, he tells the client this) but he obviously does not take the time to meet with the client and ask the tough questions. He lives in a fantasy land where he is providing great service. But this is not how the client sees the situation.

This happens regularly. We fail to see our own weaknesses, and if we do not ask our clients for feedback, we just continue along the same path of delusion.

I recommend that you regularly schedule "reality checks" with your clients. These can be formal or informal, but you want to make it clear that you cherish your working relationship and want to better serve them. If things are great, congratulations. If there are issues, it is best you hear them from the client now....before they have moved the business down the street.

Most professionals that I know do not survey their clients in this manner because they are scared of hearing about any problems. They don't actually site this as the reason, but it is very clear that they have come to appreciate their own ignorance.

When is the last time that you asked your customers if you were doing a good job? If you do not know, or it was more than six months ago then I suggest you shut off the internet, quit reading my blog, and go find out. Otherwise you will have lots of time on your hands when your clients fire you!!!

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thom...I'm anxious to begin reading your blog daily. It will be interesting to see how what you write about can impact the church. Many churches cower from words like "marketing" and "networking". As doors shut on churches across this country on a regular basis, I think pastors and churches need to consider how to do a better job at making their ministries better known in their community. We can learn a lot from the business world. I look forward to reading more!