Updated: Jul 7, 2022
When I was young and naive before I even knew what career or goals I wanted to pursue, one question stood out in my mind - what makes a customer, a listener, a viewer, or a client happy? Before deciding that Public Relations and Marketing was the path I desired to pursue, I played a lot in the world of advertising, retail, telecommunications, health promotions, training, and teaching. Regardless, the same question remained in my head as I continued to see so many unhappy consumers in every field. To my surprise, most businesses didn't care, as long as they made lots of money.
One of the key factors that continue to be missing from the equation is honest and open communication. This is one of the most effective ways of keeping clients happy. When you maintain an open line of communication with them throughout a project, it pays off. Good communication starts with a series of conversations that help you understand a project's scope and goals.
Over the years I have watched directors, managers, sales staff, and team members disregard the needs of their clients because many staff members felt that they knew what was best for their clients. How could that be possible when so many organizations lack the communication skills to engage their clientele. It's essential to develop active listening skills when meeting with new clients or old clients. The arrogant attitude of believing that "I know more than you do" often leads to the destruction of agencies, organizations, and major firms. One of my greatest mentors in the field of Broadcast Media, Dr. Julia Hare, taught me to use both of my ears to hear and understand the messages being presented. Even today, I can still hear her saying, "Mikael, you have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. One ear is for listening to what the customer or client is saying, and the other ear is for hearing what is not being said." To my surprise she added, "And 1 mouth to keep closed. She was 100% correct. The process works in business and in personal relationships too. She called it W.A.I.T. and suggested that everyone on our team asks themselves, Why Am I Talking, instead of listening to our clients.
What happens when your clients are happy with your performance? Happy and satisfied clientele do more than just come back for more, they usually bring their crew with them. A customer is definitely satisfied if he feels comfortable sharing the good news of your business with his friends and colleagues instead of badmouthing it. Most communication firms are familiar with the term WOM, or Word of Mouth Marketing. It's the best way to achieve positive feedback and recommendations that often leads to obtaining new clients. Today, much to my surprise, many companies lack good customer service. Many get upset when they hear or see negative reviews about their work or attitude. Why would you expect anything different? When we visit a new venue or restaurant what is the first thing we do if we enjoyed it? We usually share that information within our network, through social media, emails, or word of mouth. The same thing happens if the experience was negative.
There is no secret to the many ways to keep clients or customers happy with the work you are doing with them, instead of for them. Here are a few ways to keep them coming back for more:
Listen to the client and ask questions
Ask what matters the most
Know your industry better than anyone
Reward loyal customers or clients
Create ongoing, engaging content that will gain positive attention
Always be transparent and honest
Be considerate of the client's time and daily schedule
Own your mistakes immediately
Respond promptly to feedback
Commit to innovation and creativity
Go above and beyond the call of duty
Don't be afraid to explore the unknown together
Anticipate the needs of your clients and customers
Always include clients in the conversation
Start investing in your clients with ideas they will notice
Know when to stop talking
At Promotions West, we enjoy the work we do with our clients because we select them based on their projects and our expertise. Having fun is our key ingredient when creating and strategizing together to make our clients happy and successful. If we are not the best fit, we simply work hard to link them with other agencies that may be a better fit. Lessons in life have taught us that complete honesty is always the best policy.