“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It’s what the customer gets out of it” – Peter Drucker
Every business essentially exists to fulfill one great crusade: satisfy their clients. This has been true in the past and it’s more important than ever nowadays.
As a project manager, you have been taught to focus on facts. If you present the end product to the client and all the numbers scream “yes!” then your work can be classified as “good and satisfactory”.
But the thing is, everybody strives for the right figures in charts and reports to showcase to their clients. You could say it has become so mainstream, that if a company or a project fails to meet specific requirements, it’s a lost battle, with little to no chance of recovery.
Exceeding expectations of your clients is one thing that you can do to make a solid, professional impression on them, but sometimes, even those are not the only factors that will classify your job as a good one.
Let’s look at the core of things. Ultimately, your job is to keep clients happy enough to recommend your company to others, return to you whenever a similar project or purchase will be needed and build a solid reputation with the help of all those factors.
But what if another company like yours is able to grant the same service and quality of work? How do you know clients will decide to stick with you every time they need something done? That’s something to think about right there.
As always, there is a way to make this happen. If we dig deeper, there are a number of other satisfaction metrics that seem unimportant and often get overlooked by project managers, but when reports and charts state almost the same results, these small, but true benefits instantly jump into play.
These benefits are so fundamental for people as a species, that it doesn’t even take time to remember them or bring those to mind. In fact, in some cases, they may even outweigh solid, formidable results.
Take a look at those 3 customer satisfaction metrics and try to analyze your job to date: do those measurements apply to your clients? If not, what can you do to make them happen? Let’s dive in.
All people are emotional beings. No matter how professional the work atmosphere may be, we are not robots. We value human interactions and we want them to be meaningful or fun or interesting or intriguing. Or maybe all of those at once.
Client communication is a huge part of your job as a project manager. How satisfied are your clients with all the meeting you held together on the emotional level? Are they happy with the communication they have with you and your team? Or do they just come to the meetings just because “it’s a part of the procedure?”
I can tell you from my own experience that emotional connection, though very small (since work ethics must always be followed) matters a lot. I have met a number of clients that work with a certain company not because they deliver the best results possible, but because the project managers and their teams are just great people to work with.
This question concerns another point of view. Have you as a project manager been able to improve your client’s life (or rather business life) at all? The services you provide are all good, but on the personal level, have you made a difference for them?
This satisfaction metric is important because it will be a major factor for clients to remember you whenever they need to refer your services to a friend or come back for another project. Your services as a project manager should be able to change your client’s’ views, at least for a little bit, to the better.
Behavioral satisfaction mostly affects customer loyalty and retention. Customer loyalty is one of the most important metrics you need to keep track of, since retaining an existing customer is a lot cheaper than acquiring a new one.
If you master the art of relationships, you can give your clients something more than any competitor, even if that competitor is able to provide slightly better results for their clients.
Another bonus of behavioral satisfaction are the recommendations. It’s typical of people to recommend good service providers to their friends and colleagues, simply because they want them to have the same great experience. This is also true about projects and their managers.
To sum it up, here is what satisfaction looks like for most clients:
- Solid results make the most important part (obviously)
- Providing optimal solutions when problems arise come second (after all, problem solving is key to producing great results)
- But when those two metrics are equal among competitors, human factors and emotions jump into play. Customers want to get the very most out of every work interaction they get into, be it in the form of time, resources or positive emotions.
Try to go beyond the working relationships and make clients remember you in a good way. You could do something as small as sending them a birthday cake for example. Trust me, they will be thankful.