The frightening fact is that many service providers are unaware of the level of satisfaction among their clients. Even if we work hard to ensure that we live up to our commitments, there may be silent relationship-killers undermining our best efforts. For example, there is a very, very high cost of system errors. Something as basic as a delayed statement mailing can dramatically impact the level of satisfaction that your clients experience. This may not seem like much, but I have witnessed that overall investment performance is frequently not the reason a client moves on; rather it is the administrative aspects of the service delivered.
As your business grows, so does the risk of service delivery experience. Think about your last hotel stay with a brand name chain. The hope of the entire chain depends on the single interaction that you had, either in person or not, with a particular staff member, and how it will drive your entire assessment of that chain.
Here is a simple solution that can actually bring massive unexpected benefits. During my days of growing a business, we advertised that I, as CEO, would be on the client service desk taking calls from 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., one night a week, for clients to reach me if they had any issues to discuss. The astonishing result was this: about fifteen percent of the calls were from clients wishing to express concern over an unresolved issue, but the other eighty-five percent were calls from clients giving me suggestions and ideas about products and services—I now had a volunteer marketing department with a vested interest—our clients! Here’s the other value that accrued—I was able to be a role model for our team. I was able to model for them a particular approach to client interaction that I hoped they would emulate—and, of course, I learned more than one or two things from them.
The bottom line is that your management style and thoroughness of understanding the entire value-chain in your organization, whether it is a five-person operation or a major corporation, will become legend, and you will get some great new ideas from your increasing loyal clients.