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Can’t Get No (Client) Satisfaction?

Barbara Coles

by Barbara Coles

It’s a fact: service-committed organizations are more profitable, have lower marketing costs, suffer fewer client complaints and enjoy more repeat business than those with little or no commitment to client satisfaction.

Whether in the smallest town or the largest city, you are your practice, firm or company. Everything you say and do impacts your image positively or negatively. Therefore, everything about you – from your personal appearance, to the way you deal with your employees and clients – is a billboard advertising your firm. Here are some client-satisfaction tips to help you attain or polish a positive image and retain valued clients:

Knowledge of the Client
Go straight to the source. Ask your clients, what do you need and expect from our firm? Do the supporting divisions (clerical staff, billing, etc.) of our firm work seamlessly and equally as hard to serve you? Which details have the most positive or negative impact on your satisfaction?

Once you have asked these questions, you’ll find that clients will generally evaluate your service quality on the following factors:
• Reliability: The ability to provide as promised, dependably and accurately.
• Responsiveness: Helping clients eagerly and in a timely manner.
• Assurance: The competence, trustworthiness and courtesy that is shown.
• Follow-through: Paying attention to often-ignored details.

Reliability
Good client service does not mean doing the impossible. The tendency is to promise the client “the moon” in order to cut-off the competition. There’s one problem with this approach: it’s impossible to deliver “the moon” on a regular basis. And, once you have managed the impossible once, you have created an unrealistic expectation. Attempting to achieve the impossible too often may create a high level of turnover and ultimately results in a service failure. This may result in a client who doesn’t return or, worse yet, in one who tells others about their unhappy experience.

Conversely, being reliable puts you in a position to shape your clients’ expectations to match what you can provide. It’s in your firm’s best interest to educate your clients regarding your work requirements, timetables and processes. There will be occasions when circumstances will not allow you to meet a client’s needs. If you have dealt reliably with that client in the past and explain your situation, along with your unwillingness to disappoint them, then your client will know that you have been honest and concerned about his or her satisfaction.

Responsiveness
Timely response has always been important in business. Be sure to ask your client some background about his or her project and its urgency so that you can gauge what he or she really needs before setting a deadline. If your deadline doesn’t work for the client, partner with them by working within reasonable bounds to get them as much of what they need as you can within the time constraints. If it simply can’t be done, brainstorm alternatives.

Dissatisfaction is usually a byproduct of uncertainty. Educate your client on matters where you think he or she may be confused or uninformed. This will help to put your client at ease, and instill them with trust in you to keep them informed.

Assurance
There’s no substitute for competence. Good service is built on attention to detail and client needs. Good service is also built on knowledge, confidence and know-how. Good reputations are built on assurance, the substance that makes your clients believe you will deliver:

• Client knowledge
• Legal knowledge
• Company knowledge
• Listening skills
• Problem-solving skills

Follow-through
Send a service evaluation form to your clients. The information you get from it will help you gauge your success, and it will leave the client feeling as if his or her future satisfaction is truly your goal. Similarly, a sincere and timely note of thanks to clients can create a positive impression, boosting your image and bringing repeat business.

In a world long on hype and short on quality, most people are willing, even eager, to share their discovery of good service. Maintaining good service is maintaining your good reputation – the most effective (and least costly) form of advertising available.

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Google Makes “Undo Send” Official

Frustrated_LARGE

Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

I have to admit: I had no idea Gmail had an “Undo Send” option–did you? I guess I’m not alone.

The feature allowing users to “unsend” an email actually was first introduced in March 2009. At that point, it was just an experiment and stayed in the Labs section, where Google tests out new features.

Now it’s official. The feature has been added to your main settings in Gmail:

  • Go to the “Settings” in your email, in the drop-down menu below your profile picture.
  • Scroll down to “Undo Send.”
  • Click “Enable Undo Send.”
  • You can choose a cancellation period for the feature of five, 10, 20 or 30 seconds.

So the next time you accidentally send the email to your boss that was supposed to go to your friends–you have a few moments to correct your misstep.

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Email Marketing Metrics That Matter

Email metrics

Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

If you’re reading this, then you hopefully appreciate the value of email marketing.

Many companies understand the importance of communicating directly with their audience — both current customers and potential ones. Beyond blogs, advertising and social media, the storied tradition of the newsletter still lives on, only now in e-form. Newsletters like this one, along with direct pitches about sales events or company news, arrive in a subscriber’s email inbox loaded with information pertinent to them.

 

Standing out and being read

The challenge, of course, is making sure your e-communications are being delivered to the right people — and being read.

Metrics are analytical tools available through Google, or email services like MailChimp or Constant Contact, that allow you to see exactly how your messages are faring. You can use this feedback to adapt your e-marketing for maximum effect: changing the look, topics, length, frequency, time of distribution and so forth.

But which metrics matter the most, and why?

 

The meaning behind the metrics

  • Kevin Moore

    Kevin Moore

    Delivery rate: This indicates what percentage of your database actually received your email. People change email addresses, leave their company, etc. You should aim for as close to 100% as possible. “Monitoring this helps you keep your list up to date,” said Coles Web Designer Kevin Moore. “If the percentage rate is low, then it’s time to get rid of old or bad email addresses from your database.”

  • Bounces: These emails are returned as undeliverable, and this metric is helpful in culling your email lists. Some bounces are “soft” and usually temporary, such as an “out of office” reply. “Hard” bounces generally indicate an email address is no longer valid.
  • Open rate: This refers to how many people opened your email. This metric can be somewhat murky, since some email clients (Yahoo, iPhone) automatically open emails, skewing measurement. Other clients use a preview pane, and if an impression pixel (a 1×1 pixel image included in the email) is not tracked, it won’t count as an open. In general, an open rate above 20% is considered good.
  • Click-through rate: Whenever a reader clicks on a hyperlinked item in your email, that’s a click. The most common click-throughs are on “read more” links that take the clicker to read the rest of an article after a teaser paragraph or two. “This gives you a sense of the kind of content that users like to read,” Moore said. Anything above 10% is stellar.
  • Brian Coles

    Brian Coles

    Unsubscribe: These are people who received your email and have indicated they no longer wish to be included on your database of receivers. You should do them the courtesy of removing them ASAP. If you consistently get many unsubscribes, it may mean your content isn’t properly tailored to your audience, said Vice President Marketing Brian Coles.

  • Campaign codes: Tracking codes within the email. “These allow you to integrate your email links into Google Analytics, so you can further track or attribute emails to action that happens on your website like purchases and contact signup,” Coles said.

 

Navigation of email traffic

If you’re unfamiliar with how email metrics work, Coles Marketing can give you a primer and walk you through your recent results. We can also shoulder the entire burden of e-marketing for you!

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Categories: 2015 June Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,