Every business owner wants happy clients. It’s a good indicator that your business is meeting your customers’ needs; that you’ll get great word-of-mouth; and that the working day will simply be more productive and enjoyable.
As a business owner, Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, Managing Director of TishTash Marketing and Public Relations says having happy clients is the ultimate goal, and 85 per cent of her new business referrals are from existing clients.
“For me client happiness is everything and I’m proud that at TishTash we still have the same clients we opened with seven years ago. I instill in all my team the importance of going the extra mile and keeping clients happy at all times,” says Hatherall-Shawe.
What defines good customer service is tricky to pinpoint though, because rapidly changes in society and technology make a lot of what is being taught, already redundant.
It wasn’t long ago that consumers made purchasing decisions based on which product catalogues were dropped in the mailbox, but expectations change with each generation, and greater access to information means customers are more empowered to shift brands at will.
Julie Jackson, a principal of service industry consultancy Saulwick Adams, says a main factor in keeping happy clients is having the right clients to begin with.
“I think it’s important to target the right types of clients for your business. If you can try and match your services with the needs of your client, then I think you have a much better chance of keeping them happy.”
“Particularly today, where online businesses are taking over from bricks and mortar,” says Jackson, “and millennials are looking for experiences and part of the experience is good quality customer service.”
Hatherall-Shawe agrees that good relationships are more important than ever.
“I am finding that what kept clients happy three years ago is not the same today and they demand more, and over and above, all the time, which can be challenging for any business owner,” says Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, CEO of Tish Tash Marketing and Public Relations.
“In challenging economic times like we are currently in keeping clients happy is even harder than ever, as they are under so much pressure themselves,” says Hatherall-Shawe.
The Emirates Group is a successful example of how to scale a tailored customer focus to multinational level, from the top down.
In September 2018, they were awarded best ‘Corporate Innovator - Middle East’ by Global Finance magazine for their attention to the customer experience, for fostering an outstanding service culture and for innovations in the on-board cabin experience.
One important thing to realise is that there is no ‘one best way’ to foster good client relationships because people are individuals and prefer things delivered differently.
“One of the things I always tell my team is that they need to learn quickly about their clients and what they like and don’t like, as if you understand your clients it will make your life a lot easier,” says Hatherall-Shawe.
“There are so many different channels you can use to approach them and quite often it’s best to ask the client how they want to be approached,” says Jackson.
“Some are happy with a Facebook message, some are happy with a WhatsApp, some are happy with a phone call, some are happy with a drop-in visit, some are happy with a blog or a newsletter saying these are our new products,” she says.
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