Virginia, US
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| Alexia Prior

Six Ways to Delight a Client

In a recent Fragomen client services training, a key aspect to maintaining customer relationships was discussed, which is to understand that satisfied clients are not necessarily loyal clients. A client relationship that relies solely on transactional work does not necessarily guarantee a steady and committed relationship in comparison to a relationship that is built on an excellent customer experience.

This then begs the question, what creates an excellent client experience? Below are six rules which I follow to ensure that my clients are more than just satisfied, they are delighted!

1. Pick up the phone

This may seem like an age old customer service rule that everyone has heard before. However, the reason why I pick up the phone is not just to show my clients that I care but also to gauge their feelings and concerns on a deeper level. While email correspondence is important, the tone of one’s email can be misinterpreted as everyone writes according to their own subjective background and language. In my personal experience, regular phone calls are a great way to cure any misguided impressions which could have been unintentionally created by email communication.

2. Show compassion

Understanding your client’s feelings and putting yourself in their shoes can build a good rapport and show that you have insight into the challenges that they may be facing with their business. While some clients do, others do not express the internal pressure that they are under from their own line managers or project leaders. From an immigration point of view, our clients are not actually in control – we are. Empathise with your client and let them know that you are genuinely aware of the stress that they are under.

3. Acknowledge

If the time comes to own up to a mistake, I have found that apologising only momentarily pacifies a heated situation. Acknowledging that the error has caused an inconvenience or a delay is ultimately what your client is seeking. In practice, I have found that recognising the impact and being accountable for it is what clients want. This does not necessarily mean that their disappointment will suddenly disappear, but it can certainly reduce their frustration and help the process move forward. Acknowledgement should be the focus.

4. Add value

While transactional work may be a priority, finding openings to add value can highlight that you are maximising your efforts. Doing something for your client on a complimentary basis doesn’t necessarily require a lot of time if you work smart. It could be something as small as putting a contact list together or something more strategic like creating a matrix for them to easily pick out the correct visa option. All you need to do is look for an opportunity to make your client’s life easier. For example, if your client has asked for information on the opening times of a particular embassy, but in the back of your mind you also know that there is an upcoming project which will involve other embassies, you could compile the information into one concise document or, better yet, you could put together a table with hyperlinks to the contact pages of each embassy.

5. Tune in

By tuning in I am referring to being observant and identifying trends or patterns. Some clients do not consider their service providers as partners, which is fine because then you understand how you should interact with your client. Other clients want to collaborate more closely; they are looking for more of a partnership than a simple vendor relationship. It’s all about knowing how to approach your client to create the best experience for them.

6. Small gestures  

Keeping up to date with personal matters that your client happens to have shared with you is pleasant and shows that you actively listen to them during your conversations. This could be congratulating them on the birth of their new child or asking about their trip to the hospital to visit a loved one. Acknowledging cultural occasions that you know your clients celebrate can also make them feel good; all it takes is a few minutes of research on the internet to get the greeting right.

Building solid relationships with our clients is the key and this can only be achieved by going the extra mile for an outcome beyond mere satisfaction. The six points above are certainly not the only ways to keep clients happy and ways to exceed customer satisfaction should always be explored and developed to keep clients coming back. 

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