A. Try to satisfy the client as best you can. Sometimes you need to go that extra mile by putting in more hours (billing them for more hours may not be an option at this point especially if they are unhappy with your work to begin with.) Again, a client doesn’t really care how you get the job done. And like any business, it’s really about keeping the customer happy whenever possible.
B. Try to educate and explain why a particular plan of action isn’t working and re-work it. There have been times when a client will ask me to contact a certain industry and perhaps because of economic slow down, the results were less than satisfactory. Here’s a great example. I had a mortgage broker as a client earlier this year who was interested in booking appointments with prospects looking to re-finance. Now what’s important to note is that in my industry, each account is different. No two insurance accounts work the same way, particularly if you’re calling various parts of the world. Anyway, this account was focusing all of it’s marketing in the Northern Californian region. And as many of you know, the mortgage industry has gone thru some major problems with re-fi accounts. Mortgage brokers are also having problems with new accounts because of a trickle down effect in the market (too complicated to explain here without a degree in finance.) More than 90% of the leads I contacted at the time (which the client provided) were not interested in refinancing. Keep in mind that you can’t force someone to refinance their home or change insurance carriers or hire a new janitorial service. If someone isn’t open to changing; then they aren’t going to change…period. There has to be not only an interest in changing but also a need. Now the interesting thing about the mortgage industry as with every industry goes through slumps. Little did we know at the time that the mortgage industry would be next to experience this and in a big way. I don’t deal with failure well. Never have really. But the sense of failure that comes with letting go of a client teaches you valuable lessons that are frankly, priceless. All you can really do is the best you can with the information you have at the time.
C. Listen. Access . Take action. Listening is key to making an unhappy client, happy. Truthfully, you can’t rectify a situation if you’re not willing to listen. And at this time it’s important to be really honest and decide if this is one of those situations that you can actually make better or not. If you can make it better then it’s a good idea to figure out how you’re going to make things right. So in other words you need a plan. I’m a big fan of lists. In this case it becomes a matter of what’s working in the project and what isn’t. Why isn’t it working? What changes can you make? Is it a matter of working harder or smarter ? Ask the client for input, after all they have a vested interest in the project. Sometimes the client knows something that you don’t or has insight that may help. For me, the death nell of any account is lack of input from the client. I always insist that a client give me regular updates on any appointment (that I set) they go on. Ask the client,” what can I do to make this right”. “What would you like to see happen realistically?” “ Can we put our heads together to see what kind of solution we can come up with?“ Staying in touch and in sync with your client becomes more important than ever at this time. There is nothing more jarring than finding out months into a project that the client isn’t happy with some aspect of it. So communication with your client is key.