Friday, 27 June 2014

Dissatisfied clients

It’s interesting that we recognise that dissatisfied clients are not good for business. We should really have some form of complaints procedure: but do we? How do you tap into your clients’ real opinions? Let’s hope you don’t wait until they just leave or not renew their contract with you.

It’s hard winning new business and worse if your reputation has been sullied with poor reviews on the increasing number of review sites aimed at specific service sectors including online businesses. See Choosing the right web design agency for your business, Mash Web Design, Adam Collins (21.6.2014).

Yes, some complaints are unjustified. The clients have not fully understood the nuances of what was offered and the consequences for their decisions despite you explaining. But, it is so important that you educate them until you are confident they fully understand the compromises they have made and the results to be expected. Very often the compromises are cost-driven of course.

However, we have to accept that there are ‘questionable’ businesses out there that don’t appear to care for long-term relationships with their clients and/or don’t provide for the changing and maturing needs of clients. The closest I got to finding specific reasons for clients’ dissatisfaction was the recognition of why new clients appeared when they had not been happy with their previous digital partner. So, companies like WOM web solutions are upfront and use reasons they have found for dissatisfaction to their advantage. They say,
... unlike typical web companies, we don’t move around or change our name to avoid the fallout from dissatisfied clients.
Other companies have won new business as a result of clients’ needs maturing, so that if they initially got a cheap quick solution for their presence online by using templates, then they progress from that position to want more. Brass Tacks Web Design highlights this dissatisfaction as a reason to move to them.
"...these templates can be limited in flexibility and originality and some people find themselves outgrowing the stock solution quite quickly. We also find that some clients coming from these providers are unhappy with the service they receive.
If you feel that your clients will tell you how they are feeling, think again. Stephen Attree from Myers, Listers, Price solicitors, in Unhappy Clients Don’t Complain … (5.6.2014), quotes stats from a survey that covered accountants, bankers and solicitors. Well, if people don’t complain about them, will they about iMedia companies? Hard to say. But Stephen is clear that the clients who don’t complain take their business elsewhere.

Naturally, there is the other side where you are the aggrieved party. If you are a freelancer have you felt ripped off? Have your clients refused to pay properly? Maria Brophy attacks this practice including reference to freelance web designers in How to Never Get Ripped Off AGAIN – for Freelancers (undated), She gives some sound tips for you if this is happening.

Business is not straightforward. There can and will be gripes on both sides. But, it is true that if you know about the gripes you can begin to address them in a variety of ways before you lose business over them. Listen to your people and listen to your clients.