I’m sure you’ve seen or heard ads on the TV or radio and immediately groaned…
Turn Your Difficult Clients Into Ambassadors
Many business owners want a simpler and more profitable business.
But do you realise that we actually create rather than gain many of our difficult clients? Think about the clients you would deem as ‘difficult’ within your business. And we all have them, even if we don’t want to admit it. But, are they difficult because we should never have worked with them in the first place? Or have our systems (or lack of) actually turned them into difficult clients?
Before you examine your systems, it’s important to determine whether every client you have is actually your ‘ideal’ client for every stage of your sales funnel process. If your answer to this question is “I don’t know”, then this is your homework. This process will illuminate whether some clients need to be moved on to greener pastures. Although this process can be quite challenging, the reality is, just like people, we have clients for ‘a season, a reason and a lifetime’.
Now you’ve got the right clients, review these 7 tips to ensure your systems turn your difficult clients into ambassadors for your business:
1. Ensure any communication is written with the client, rather than you, in mind.
Too often, businesses write in jargon and industry terminology rather than in a language the client can quickly and easily understand.
2. Develop a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.
FAQs, when placed on your website and provided to new and existing clients, cannot only minimise phone calls and emails but also helps your clients, and you, to understand their needs and provides you with more information on how you help and add value to them.
3. Develop a ‘so what happens now’ letter.
Many clients may never have undertaken your particular services before, e.g. built a house or developed a social media campaign. We provide so much information about what will happen throughout the process verbally but with little or no written documentation to back up the conversations. And we wonder why clients keep ringing and emailing with questions!
4. Provide progress updates.
Even with a ‘so what happens now’ letter, clients still need to be advised of where their job is at, particularly if for example, they see materials on their property with little or no action for a while because of rain and other circumstances. It is really important to understand their job is their number one priority, even though it probably isn’t for you. So, email or phone them to advise how the job is tracking in relation to the initially agreed completion dates.
5. Keep to your terms and conditions.
Many businesses have terms and conditions which clearly outline what will happen when the client doesn’t pay on time, etc. Yet, by continuing with the work and not enforcing these terms, you are educating your clients that it is OK not to follow these procedures (and that you are happy to work for free!).
6. Gain regular feedback during and upon completion of each job.
Not only is it essential to get feedback from individual/group consultations and feedback forms, but more importantly, it is the process you have to review and act upon the feedback as well as having an open mind to new ideas which will keep improving your business.
7. Charge or not to charge? That is the question.
Too often, clients change the brief and yet a variation process is not enacted, meaning work is undertaken for free rather than making an informed decision about whether the client should be charged for this change or not. Consequently, clients start to believe that any change isn’t chargeable rather than being ‘educated’ about what changes do and do not constitute additional fees.
Implementing these tips, will not only save you time and money, but they will help you to build a simple and more profitable business.
Finally, in order to turn your ‘difficult’ clients into those who want to always refer you, it’s helpful to keep these quotes at the forefront of your business:
We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. – Jeff Bezos.
The Procrastinator’s Creed: 1) I believe that if anything is worth doing, it would have been done already. 2) I shall never move quickly, except to avoid more work or find excuses.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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