It is natural to assume that the key to client satisfaction is good service. After all, once a new client experiences our expertise, they typically come back for more. In time, we come to see them as “regulars” - part of our stable of clientele and consistent contributors to our books of business. That’s also right around the time we start taking them for granted.
I’m not talking about your top three clients, or even your top ten. Those relationships are critical to the health of your practice, so you probably go out of your way to keep them happy. No, I’m referring to the second tier. The ones who you hear from a little less often, but who collectively make up at least a third of your revenue. Those are the clients to whom most firms pay less proactive attention.
Certainly, your key client retention programs should be reserved for your key clients. But keep in mind that it takes very little energy to survey the rest of your clients from time to time and manage their satisfaction level. If you don’t have the bandwidth for a concentrated feedback program, simply send them a SurveyMonkey questionnaire asking how likely they would be to refer your services on a scale of 1-10. (This feedback technique, introduced by Fred Reichheld in his book, “The Ultimate Question,” has become common practice among service-oriented firms.) Those clients who score lower than 6 are not only detracting from your referral base, they are signaling an intention to switch to a competitor. In many cases, they just feel neglected - a little more attention from you or one of your junior colleagues will turn them around. Bottom line: any client worth keeping, is worth keeping satisfied.