Navigating Difficult Conversations: Client Satisfaction

Navigating difficult conversations becomes much easier when you know your client satisfaction level.

We started the blog series on how to have the frame of mind and how to prepare yourself. Last week we discussed raising prices. However, nothing prepares you like knowing how satisfied your clients are. 

There isn’t a successful business in existence that isn’t working to learn more about how satisfied their clients are. Unsatisfied clients are not clients who are going to respond positively to a price increase. In fact, they are not likely to respond positively to most notices from you. We all want clients to be responsive. What they will respond well to is sharing how they could be a satisfied client. Additionally, satisfied clients will provide the best information for you to use in marketing and help uncover your strengths often taken for granted. 

Keep in mind that how you ask for this information should follow a specific structure in order to get the best results. 

  1. Ask the hard questions

What could you do better or improve upon? 

What do your clients think is your least valuable service?

If your clients could change one thing about the operations of your business what would it be?

Keep in mind you don’t have to make the changes. These could all be personal preferences. However, if all your clients share the same feedback (positive or negative) it shouldn’t be ignored. 

2. Avoid leading questions

Leading questions are questions where you have subtly lead the client to answer in the way you think to be true. It immediately creates bias and does the thinking for your client. You can avoid leading questions by removing emotive words that are positive or negative that match your desired or predetermined response. For example;

Purpose of question: To determine what keeps you top of mind with your clients. 

Use of responses in the future: Asking for referrals, marketing

Leading question: What is your best experience with my VA service?

  • Asking for their best experience leads them to only something positive. 

Better question: What is your most memorable experience with my VA service?

  • Your client could have had a great experience with you. However, if it’s not their most memorable you don’t know if that is what they are likely to share with others. 
  • Keep in mind that many clients appreciate and refer their VAs based on how they handled a difficult situation, not a positive one. 

3. All your clients should be asked the same questions

Whether or not you provide the same service for all your clients or not, the questions should be the same. You can tailor your services to be personalized, but personal feedback and satisfaction is not the goal. The goal is overall client satisfaction which makes it about them not you. Plus, if you are asking each client different questions your satisfaction score will be skewed and you could potentially be swayed to make a big business change based on one person’s opinion which is not enough to go on.

4. Offer options

Your clients have a preference for how they like to communicate. Make sure your client satisfaction survey has options.

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Text
  • Form 
  • Anonymous

5. Ask permission, provide benefits, and estimate their time

Nothing is worse for clients than receiving a survey without asking for their permission. You as their VA know more than anyone how valuable their time is. Asking their permission in advance (including for testimonials) respects and saves time for all parties. 

Never underestimate the power of providing benefits of how their participation benefits them. 

Lastly, don’t forget to let them know how much time to block. Any survey over 5 minutes will cause a delay in response so make sure you have a trusted VA colleague or two to test the time and another set of eyes to review never hurt anyone!

BONUS! Offer a free gift

We all like free gifts! Showing a token of appreciation doesn’t go unnoticed. You can also tie this to a due date to provide additional incentive to complete the survey sooner than later. 

Once you know and have confidence in what your clients are satisfied with you’ll be far better prepared for any time a difficult conversation arises.

For resources, guides, tips, and trusted VA feedback to navigate difficult conversations – join the AVA

We see you. We hear you. We value you.