This week we will be talking about something a little different than usual, how do we keep clients happy at Tribloom. First and foremost, we do a great job. This is just the beginning though. A long time ago I heard some advice: people want do do business with people that they know, trust, and like. Thus, that is what we will discuss in more detail.
Getting to Know You
I started watching HBO’s Industry recently. It is about a bunch of interns at a prestigious bank in London (think Goldman Sachs). To the point, one of the veteran bankers gave one of the interns a piece of advice: Don’t talk business until you have spent at least 5 minutes talking about other things. The idea was to force you to get to know your client on a personal level before talking business. We don’t take it to extremes here at Tribloom, but it’s always good to know who you are working with and what is going on with their lives to help you relate to them better.
The primary way to earn trust is to follow through on what you say you will do. This goes back to doing a great job. We strive to under promise and over deliver on every job. We want to come in under budget and on time, every time. On top of that, do a great job. We had a client once that we quoted a fixed price to do everything on their punch list. We didn’t quote get through everything in the time we had estimated, so we did the rest at no additional cost. They were happy and we were happy to deliver what they wanted at the cost we quoted.
Another important part of trust, in a client/consultant relationship, is having the client’s best interests in mind. Here are a few real life examples of this:
- If there is a job that isn’t a good fit for us, we tell the client or prospective client that it isn’t a good fit.
- If there is a better solution that may take less time to consult on, we offer that as a better fit solution.
- If we don’t think we are a good fit for the prospective client, we turn down the job. As a bonus, we try to offer a better fit if we are aware of one.
The result of all of this is that we only take the jobs that we can do a great job on. And in this case, a great job is what the client things is a great job, a best fit for their project. We’ve also had clients disagree with us, and we do what they want, but only after we advise them that we think there is a better option.
Do You Like Me?
The fact of the matter is that it is impossible to be liked by everyone. Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936. It’s a classic that everyone should read at least once. The advice boils down to being considerate, empathetic, and thinking about others. We strive to do this at Tribloom.
A good way to be likable is to listen more than you talk. We do this on a regular basis. Everyone really just wants to be heard. We try to make sure that we listen and we reflect back what we hear. How can we do a great job if we don’t know exactly what you want? This also means asking clarifying questions when we figure out that we aren’t clear on pieces of the project.
Because we listen to what clients are saying, we try to anticipate what they want. That means trying to understand the problem, not just want the client thinks the solution is. Sometimes we collaboratively come up with a better solution to the problem. We’ve seen a lot of problems, we’ve solved a lot of problems. We’ve seen a lot of products. A lot of times, we have solutions that the client doesn’t even know exist.
While this certainly isn’t comprehensive by any means, it gives you an idea of how we keep our clients happy and our philosophy on client relations at Tribloom. We know of quite a few consulting companies who take a “churn and burn” approach to consulting. With this approach, there is always another client after this one, so you don’t have to do a great job every time. That is not our approach. It is common for us to have multi-year relationships with out clients with project after project successfully completed.
If you like the idea of working with a company who treats clients this way, please contact us to see if we are a good fit for your project. We will do our best to make sure you are a happy client too!