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  • Cameron Finlay

Improve Your Referability



A couple of weeks ago we discussed a research showing a low correlation between client satisfaction (always do a ‘good job’) and their providing referrals. However, engaged clients make referrals without you asking, provide better introductions, and become advocates for you.


Client engagement is a factor of the value you deliver (your message, responsiveness, and recommendations) and the personal connection (the know, like, and trust).


Customer expectations are increasing, and therefore customer experience is critical. So, what basic strategies and tactics could enhance client loyalty and advocacy?


First Impressions


Does the client get a good feeling when they contact you; greeting, phone manners, helpful questions and tone, appearance of the premises?


Personalise your Connections


Research new contacts before you meet; view the website and social media, ask the referrer some questions about the person.


Allowing Sufficient Time


Don’t under-budget the time. Allow enough time so you fully comprehend their needs and requirements, and allow a little buffer time. Don’t rush, end early if the client indicates so. Write up notes or follow-up questions.


Consider your Processes


Your systems and processes may work for you, but could they be confusing or even annoying to your clients? Check with the clients, and look for clear feedback for improvements.


Complaints


It’s normal to be defensive but is an advantage to have an opportunity to build a stronger relationship where possible. When you detect some dissatisfaction or annoyance in a client, don’t ignore it and hope it will go away. It could, more likely their business will also leave.


Research shows that a problem in a client relationship if handled well results in a stronger overall relationship.


Always Act in a Client’s Best Interest


Do what is best for the client. Don’t take on clients who don’t fit your ‘preferred client’ definition. Ensure you have the right product or service for them, don’t sell them into something that is not right for them. Introduce them to someone who is the right provider for what is needed.


Appreciation


Ensure clients are genuinely appreciated, even a simple ‘thank you’ is a good start. Appreciation and gratitude may turn pleased and loyal clients into advocates.



Without clients, you have no business. Around these several items, it is possible to create Standards of Service for everyone to follow in your business. The work you do for clients is still important, it’s no more than what the client expects so it makes a merely satisfied client, but the experience created from adopting these values and tactics creates an engaged client. Do unto others?



Cam Finlay (Arnold & Finlay Accountants & Planners Pty Ltd)

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