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#664: Client Satisfaction is Not Enough

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, September 29, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 29, 2011
I would guess most consultants review their project with their clients at the end of the project, if not regularly during the project. If the client retains you or your firm for subsequent projects, you might assume they were satisfied, but not necessarily. How "satisfied" does a client have to be to make ongoing work likely?

For al the discussion, books and articles, research and methodologies developed about customer satisfaction, it is amazing that we still use the term "satisfied" when referring to evaluation. Consider how you feel about a product you buy or a service you use. If you are just "satisfied," it is as likely as not that you are looking for something better. You won't be disappointed enough to not use the product or service again but you wouldn't go out of your way to do so.

What we should all seek is customer "enthusiasm." We want an emotional connection, a desire, or a need to use your services - not just a "good enough" reaction. We can’t find this out by asking "are you satisfied with our work" type questions. We can do this by exceeding expectations, making the impact of our services as much emotional as intellectual, and baking our work into the culture of the client organization, not just its policy manuals. In both design and delivery, think about how your intervention can be a pleasant surprise that client staff will talk about after you deliver it.

Tip: We tend to be pleased with ourselves when we deliver sophisticated, effective, elegant solutions. These are good attributes but if the client is not wowed that you have significantly made their life easier or better in some surprising way, you will not generate the customer enthusiasm needed to guarantee your ongoing relationship. Think about how you feel when you see a movie or go to a restaurant or read a book you just have to tell your friends about. Look at a video of the Dubai Fountain (by the same designer as Las Vegas' Bellagio fountain) and think how amazing it is. Make your clients feel just as amazed.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  brand management  client relations  reputation 

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