Agency Management

The 5 Biggest Myths About Client Satisfaction

by Ron Ause, November 27, 2015


Repeat after us: the customer is always right. Again: the customer is always right.

Unfortunately, as you know, actions speak louder than words. And repeating idioms, adages, and proverbs, no matter how true, will get you nowhere in terms of true client satisfaction. So now that we’ve gotten that one out of the way, let’s illustrate the realities of client satisfaction.

To do so, we’ll dispel five of the biggest myths regarding client satisfaction.

1. If your agency can simply resolve a single complaint, everything will be better

Let’s face it: there are reasonably unhappy clients and there are persistently (dare we say? Sometimes even unreasonably) unhappy clients. While many agencies retain a wishful, dogged hope that resolving complaints from persistently unhappy clients will turn them into fans, unfortunately, catering solely around their demands does not guarantee that the problem will be fixed—or that they will ever be satisfied.

Instead of spending undue time on particularly dissatisfied clients, look at the broader picture. Is there a greater problem at hand? What are your client satisfaction rates? Most of the time, isolated complaints are exceptions, rather than systematic issues related to processes or policies. And spending too much time on one client may affect your overall satisfaction rate.

2. Price is the only factor that matters to clients

The customer experience is extremely multifaceted and is driven by elements far greater than money. While your prices may have influenced a client’s initial decision to pursue working with your agency, it’s the subsequent customer interactions that truly matter for long-term client satisfaction.

That’s why it’s crucial to set expectations upfront, remain connected with your client throughout a project’s duration, and utilize some sort of communication plan to keep key stakeholders informed of all changes and updates.

3. Loyalty is a direct reflection of satisfaction

Many agencies make the mistake of assuming that satisfied clients are loyal clients, and vice versa. Though this may be true in some cases, there are numerous factors that contribute to loyalty—some of which include values, brand, products, and client engagement. Customer satisfaction surveys and data are valuable, but it’s important to dig deeper.

Find out exactly why your clients are satisfied or dissatisfied—whether they are a repeat or brand new client. Furthermore, pinpoint the trends that influence their responses to get accurate insight.

4. Annual client surveys are adequate indication of success

While client satisfaction surveys are invaluable data, only surveying your customer base once a year is simply not enough. After all, data from several projects ago may be radically different than your existing campaign. Continuous measurement is the only way to gather real-time customer insight.

The best way to do this? Utilize project management software to automate your agency’s processes. Not only will it take a load off your shoulders, it will ensure that your client is receiving updates—and that you are receiving continuous feedback.

5. Client satisfaction is purely dependent on your account and client-facing teams

While your sales and account teams engage your clients initially, and project managers propel communication forward, it is a mistake to assume that behind-the-scenes players have no say in client satisfaction. In fact, we can guarantee that your agency’s satisfaction numbers will plummet if the best interests of your clients aren’t on the agenda for your entire firm.

Make customer insight transparent throughout your agency. Clearly communicate goals, actions, measurements, and expectations across your entire project team. And create an organizational structure that prioritizes the importance of positive client interactions and experiences.


About The Author

Ron began a career in the software industry at 13, while working with his father. He's become an expert in job cost and project management for creative teams.

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