The Ultimate Guide to Client Satisfaction
Buckle up, fam! We’re about to teach you how to improve customer service and build rapport with your clients. This is a fully-loaded guide with tons of practical tips you can use in your marketing and retention efforts to satisfy your clients.
But before we get to that, we need to hit the rewind button…
The year was 2018. I had just moved to Nashville, TN (Music City — what, what) and needed a new hair stylist to tame my mane. So I scoured the internet to find a well-reviewed professional and booked my first appointment. So far, so good.
On the scheduled day, I hopped in my car and drove to the shop. That’s when things started to go down hill. Being new to the area, I didn’t realize that the five mile drive would take 30 minutes, which means I arrived at my appointment 10 minutes late. Worse, the shop didn’t provide on-site parking, so I had to pay to park in the garage across the street.
I thought about driving home, but I was already there so what the heck? I’m glad I stayed. As soon as I walked through the doors of the hair salon, my day got better.
The receptionist was very kind and showed me to the waiting room, complete with free beer, a big screen TV, and a full-size pool table. My hair stylist was also gracious and personable. She listened to everything I had to say and gave me an excellent cut.
I booked my next appointment before I’d even left the building.
To recap, my hair stylist is 30 minutes away from my house and I have to pay to park there. Normally, I wouldn’t put up with these inconveniences. But in this case the service is so good, I keep going back — It wasn’t a one time deal. Why? Because she’s a wizard when it comes to client satisfaction.
If you can turn the pain, frustration, and confusion your customers feel into an amazing experience they’ll never forget, your business will be successful.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this ultimate guide. Keep reading to learn how to improve customer service so that your clients remain loyal to you no matter what.
Why client satisfaction matters
Before we teach you how to improve customer service, let’s talk about why it matters. Because it definitely matters. Client satisfaction is important because:
It creates great first impressions
You’ve heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” It’s both 100% true and incredibly scary. What if I blow it? What if they don’t like me? What if they never want to do business with me again? There’s plenty of what ifs…
But we have good news for you. First impressions are a walk in the park if you keep client satisfaction in mind. Focus on being YOU and delivering the amazing service you’re capable of and you’ll ace 99% of your first impressions.
All your customers want is to work with a business that values and respects them. Give them this simple thing and you’ll turn first timers into lifelong clients.
It builds know, like, trust
Okay, so there’s this business you’ve been following on Instagram. They put out great content, show you behind the scenes footage of how they “make the magic”, and even give you a glimpse of their personality so you feel super connected to them.
After a few weeks, you decide to take your relationship with this business to the next level. The ‘gram isn’t enough anymore. You want to make a real-life connection.
So you drive to their storefront, excitement rising up inside you. You park outside of the shop, walk through the front doors, and… [Insert Frowny Face]. The employees are completely standoffish and the vibe definitely leaves something to be desired.
What went wrong? Sounds like this company nailed the “know” and “like” of know, like, trust. That’s why you were so jazzed to meet them in the beginning. But they didn’t follow through and provide exceptional service across all channels, which lost them a potential customer.
When you prioritize client satisfaction in all areas, you’ll empower your customers to know, like, and trust you enough to spend their hard-earned money on your services. Not just once, but time and time again. And isn’t that the goal?
It leads to word of mouth marketing
Did you know that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than every other form of marketing? Obviously, word of mouth is a BIG deal. And the only way to generate it is to satisfy your current clients.
Imagine being booked solid for months in advance, building a waitlist a mile long, and having the opportunity to raise your prices because the demand for your services is so high. And all without spending a zillion dollars on advertising.
Getting to this point takes work — like, a lot of it. But when you take care of your customers, they’ll take care of you and you’ll be able to build a dream-worthy business.
12 ways to better satisfy your clients
In business, customer satisfaction is the bee’s knees, the cat’s pajamas, and every other good thing. The question is, how to build rapport with clients?
The trick is to prioritize their happiness in every facet of your enterprise, from the first encounter to the last. To help you do that, we’ve put together this comprehensive list of 12 ways to better satisfy your clients. Let’s take a look…
Setting up your Business
Surprise, client satisfaction starts *before* your first appointment. After all, if a potential customer has a hard time navigating your website, contacting you, or booking a session, they’ll find a different service provider to give their money to.
To avoid this scenario, pay special attention to the way you set up your business so that it screams, “We’re awesome,” instead of “Ewww, gross!”
1. Build Your Online Presence
What do you do when the sink clogs? Or the car won’t start? Or the backyard fence surrenders to the wind? If you’re handy, you might be able to fix these things yourself. If you’re not, you do what the rest of us do and search the interwebs for qualified professional help.
Your customers do the same thing. When they want a haircut, massage, or full sleeve, they’ll ask Google for local recommendations and peruse websites looking for the right fit.
Your website is the perfect opportunity to attract your ideal clients and begin a relationship with them. But for this to happen, it needs to look good, be easy to navigate, and clearly state your USP (the thing that sets you apart from other service providers).
It should also include your contact information and links to social, online booking capabilities (more on this in a moment), and photos that highlight your abilities as a service provider.
Once your website is locked in, take a look at your social media profiles. The key to social is engagement. Do your best to interact with potential customers on Facebook, Instagram, and any other platform you use. That way they feel recognized and appreciated.
Satisfy your clients from day one with a compelling online presence that’s both aesthetically pleasing and informative. Doing so will encourage customers to do business with you.
2. Invest in online appointment scheduling
It’s the 21st century, which means it’s time to get rid of your old-school, pen and paper appointment scheduler and invest in a digital system. That way your customers can book appointments with you when they want to, without driving you crazy from constant calls.
Trust us, your customers don’t want to play phone tag with you either…
They want to book your services in as little time as possible so they can get on with their lives. By providing them with a convenient way to schedule appointments in their own time, you’ll elevate your customers’ experience with your shop *before* they even walk into it.
Online appointment scheduling software is the solution. It’s easy to use (for you and your clients) and will save both of you oodles of time.
3. Automate as many manual processes as possible
Do you ever feel stressed and overwhelmed? Have you ever questioned your desire to start your own business? Maybe traditional employment wasn’t so bad…
We totally understand. The life of an entrepreneur is often hectic and full of surprises. It’s easy to feel like you’ll never get a handle on things. And that’s definitely *not* a great feeling. Luckily, modern technology can help.
Many manual processes, such as booking appointments (see above) and sending appointment reminders can be automated, freeing you up to do the work you love and actually enjoy the business you’ve worked so hard to build.
But here’s the thing: automation won’t just benefit you. It will also benefit your customers. Robots don’t forget to send emails, lose client phone numbers, and overbook schedules — all things we humans are guilty of.
So automate as many manual processes as you can. Your clients and your mental health will thank you, we guarantee it.
Attracting potential clients
Most of us have a warped perception of marketing. But that’s just because we’re so used to promotional strategies that only seek to sell, sell, sell.
If you keep client satisfaction in mind, you can learn how to improve customer service while you attract new patrons to your business. Yes, it’s definitely possible to do both at the same time. Here are a few tips to help:
4. Content marketing
Content rules the internet. To help market your business, try writing blog posts, shooting videos, sending emails, and posting on social media. Just keep your customers in mind while you do these things. Ask yourself, what do they want to see from me?
Content marketing only works if people care about the content you create. This means you need to. Know. Your. Customers. Before you can promote your business with content.
We can’t tell you who your ideal customers are. You’ll need to find that out for yourself if you don’t already know. But we can give you a few content ideas you can use to get your creativity flowing. Take these concepts and run with them:
- Create a YouTube video that teaches dads how to stylize their daughters’ hair.
- Post pictures of your latest skin art on Instagram (with client permission, of course.)
- Post motivational quotes on Facebook to help people stick to their exercise routines.
- Publish blogs outlining the main reasons your chiropractic clients have back pain.
Your target customers have questions. If you can answer them, you’ll be doing them a favor and promoting your business at the same time. Score!
5. Print and digital advertising
As a local service provider, you probably use a mixture of online and offline advertising channels to market your business. Depending on your target clients, Facebook Ads, radio commercials, neon flyers, etc. can be a great way to get the word out about your offerings.
To make sure your ads are created with client satisfaction in mind, address common pain points and how you remedy them with your services. This will show potential clients that you understand their needs and help build trust between them and you.
6. In-person Events
One of the best ways to connect with potential customers is to go meet them, like, in real life. You can do this by frequenting local events, hosting your own get-togethers for the general public to attend, and supporting charities that your target audience cares about.
The benefit of in-person events is two-fold:
- It will allow you to reach new potential customers and tell them about your business in a face-to-face manner that facilitates human connection.
- It will allow you to learn more about your clients, which will help you craft better services and marketing strategies you can use in the future.
Note: Because of COVID-19, most in-person networking events are currently off limits. Do your best to network digitally via social media, Zoom chats, etc.
7. Secure glowing reviews
Want to learn how to build rapport with clients? Secure glowing reviews and they’ll begin to trust you before they even get their first cut, tat, or massage.
Studies show that 82% of customers read online reviews for local businesses *before* making a purchase. If your business doesn’t have any testimonials for people to read, you’re likely missing out. But don’t worry, five-star reviews are a lot easier to get than you might think.
- Provide great service: If your customers love what you do, they’ll naturally want to tell other people about your offerings. For many, that means a Google or Yelp review.
- Ask your customers: Want reviews? Ask your customers for them! Again, if they love the services you provide, they’ll be more than happy to help you out in this way.
- Offer compelling incentives: To get as many reviews as possible, incentivize your customers. Most folks will happily write a review for 10% off their next purchase.
If you do ask for and/or incentive your customers for reviews, make the process as easy as possible for them. We suggest sending a link to the exact site you want to be reviewed on.
Turning customers into fans
You’ve set up your business and implemented a few customer attraction strategies — all with client satisfaction in mind. Now it’s time to level up and turn average customers into loyal, raving fans of your business. Trust us, it’s not as complicated as you might think…
8. Go above and beyond
One of the best ways to build rapport with clients is to simply give them more than they’re expecting. For example, a barber could offer a quality haircut (expected). THEN, they could offer the occasional free shave to new and/or loyal customers (unexpected).
Small gestures like this prove to clients that you’re willing to go above and beyond for them, which will increase the likelihood of future bookings and advocacy, AKA word of mouth.
It has to do with a little something called reciprocity.
Reciprocity is the social phenomenon that empowers people to respond to a friendly action with another friendly action. By giving your clients more than they expect, they’ll feel indebted to you (in a good way) and want to return the favor.
9. Prioritize honesty and transparency
Remember what we said earlier? All customers want is to work with a service provider that values and respects them. The best way to show respect is to be honest. Yup, you’re mom was right, honesty is always the best policy — especially in business.
How about an example? Let’s say you booked a facial with a new esthetician in town. On the scheduled day, you get a call saying your appointment has been cancelled because of a double booking. The esthetician is very sorry and offers to reschedule at half price.
It’s a bummer, you wanted that facial today. But, hey, half off next week is pretty cool. You’d likely book your new appointment immediately.
What if the esthetician handled things differently? What if she lied and said she had to cancel because of a family emergency? But then you learn through the grapevine that she really just double-booked. Chances are, you’re never booking a facial with that service provider again.
Lying to your clients will come back to bite you. And when it does, it will be much worse than if you’d have just told the truth from the get-go.
10. Get to know your customers
Do you know your customers? Most service providers would recognize their top clients if they met them at the supermarket. Many would even remember their names. But if this is where your client knowledge ends, it’s time to dig deeper.
What do your clients do in their spare time? Where did they go on their last vacation? Are they obsessed with Cobra Kai on Netflix (Hmmm… maybe that’s just me.)
The point is, the more you know about your customers, the better you can serve them. And the better you serve them, the more valued they’ll feel. Valued customers tend to book more frequently and spend more money. Why wouldn’t they? They love the experience.
Fortunately, digging up client data is easier than ever. Take a gander at their social media profiles and you’ll learn everything you’d ever want to know. Then store that information in your appointment booking software of choice so you can recall it when needed.
11. Reward customer loyalty
It’s 5-25x more expensive to secure a new customer than it is to retain a current one. Do your bank account a favor and keep your customers happy. How? Reward them for their loyalty.
Many businesses do this via some kind of formal customer loyalty program. You know what we’re talking about… Spend X amount of dollars, get X amount of points, spend points on products, services, etc. There’s also the classic punch card program that most restaurants use: buy nine sandwiches and get the tenth for free.
You could do something similar…
For example, you could offer 20 points for every hour booked at your tattoo parlor. Once a customer hits 100 points, they receive a one-time 10% discount on their next piece. You could also track customer visits to your spa and give away a free massage after the fifth booking.
The options are limitless. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure your customers feel appreciated for giving you their business and they’ll keep giving it to you.
12. Boost your EQ
EQ stands for empathy quotient and it’s incredibly important for client satisfaction. But before we dive into why, let’s make sure we’re on the same page.
According to Grammarly, empathy is, “the ability to understand other people’s feelings as if we were having them ourselves.” This is different from sympathy, which is “the ability to take part in someone else’s feelings, mostly by feeling sorrowful about their misfortune.”
Make sense? Cool, now the question is, why does empathy even matter? Because empathy has many benefits, a couple of which are:
- Reputation building: By showing a personal interest in your customers, you’ll be able to increase sales, bookings, and revenue. This is because your clients will think more highly of you and reward you with repeat business and referrals.
- Client knowledge: By asking your clients how they’re doing and actually listening to their answers, you’ll learn about them. This knowledge can then be used to craft better services, offer better products, and create more enjoyable experiences for customers.
So make time to boost your EQ by taking a genuine interest in your clients and searching for ways to improve their lives via your services.
Happy clients, better business
If you learn how to improve customer service, your business will grow. It’s inevitable. Fortunately, you now know how to satisfy your customers. With this knowledge you’ll be able to turn first-time clients into lifelong patrons of your services.
What do you think? Did we miss one of your favorite customer service tips? We’d love to hear about it! Give us the juicy deets in the comment section below!