Feed-forward: Way to Get Client Back

Last week, we carried out an interesting exercise at one of our clients. The client felt that due to newly introduced professional approach in the company, clients lost direct touch with the management team. As managerial team underwent leadership development initiatives, they were put across client communication, and were given more responsibility to manage them in better way.

One of the not-so-expected results of that initiative was few of the clients started feeling that they were not being cared by the management. And couple of them switched over to competitors as well.

Although the figure was small, and did not affect the company’s overall performance, management raised a concern about it.

So, we carried out “Feed-forward Activity” involving management team and managerial team.

The objective of the activity was to identify and take necessary steps to reduce the feeling of neglected, and to ensure client trust and confidence with the company.

We asked them to list down all probable sources of left-out feeling in client’s mind. And, then we divided into four categories:

Category 1: Sources within Company (Controllable)

These are the areas raised well within company, and found controllable.

  1. Do not deliver service on time to clients
  2. Mistakes in work
  3. Communication gap between company personnel and clients
  4. Technical mistakes made by company personnel
  5. Not updating client from time to time about status of work
  6. Client waiting time at lounge area – lack of proper hospitality during his visit to our office
  7. Lack of proper documentation
  8. Lack of understanding and satisfying urgent needs of client
  9. Not attending clients’ phone calls on time
  10. Lack of coordination with associate service provider
  11. Lack of proper internal handover in case of absenteeism
  12. High project fees
  13. Misunderstanding due to lack of proper communication
  14. Not listening to clients properly
  15. Lack of proper behavior by company personnel to client while dealing with him

Category 2: Sources within Company (Uncontrollable)

There was not a single reason found which could be attributed to uncontrollable within company.

Category 3: Sources with Client/Market (Controllable)

Below were the sources related to client/market, which could be controlled by the company.

  1. Not satisfying client’s ego
  2. Repeated follow ups by clients for work
  3. Bad mouthing by clients to others
  4. Working preference or operating style of client

Category 4: Sources with Client/Market (Uncontrollable)

We identified two major sources with respect to client/market which were beyond the control for the company.

  1. Lack of internal communication among stakeholders at client’s place
  2. Better service by competitor

After classifying above sources, which would have played major role in creating feeling of disconnect in client’s mind, we identified following actions to overcome this concern.

Action Plan

  1. The managerial team shall organise LLM (Let’s Learn from Mistake(s))  meeting –– in which mistakes to be analyzed, learnt from and documented for mistake(s) and its solution(s). Respective stakeholders within the company should attend LLM.
  2. Kick-off meeting – whenever the new project starts, kick off meeting should be arranged by project manager involving major stakeholders at client’s place, to brief them about the entire service cycle.
  3. Bar chart update – weekly meeting – for review of all existing projects – and analysis against projected deadlines.
  4. Once-in-a-year-meeting, inviting all stakeholders of the project at office; so everyone can become familiar with execution team.
  5. Excellent Client Management
    1. Creating excellent customer experience during their visit to office
    2. Contextualizing the conversation
    3. Ensuring trust and faith for you in client’s mind
    4. Give innovative and creative solution to client
    5. Help whenever client is stuck up
    6. Client Log Book – to be updated for each site visit and counter-signed by client for each visit
    7. Help client understand how are we different from others
    8. Behavioral aspects of dealing with client

It is easy to retain an existing client than creating new client. With this approach and philosophy, we designed above action points, we reduced the frequency and number of “Lost Clients”.

Remarks: Due to confidentiality, we have refrained for revealing the name of the client and data related to that. The client is into service industry and is mid-size company, serving more than 1000 clients, with their 350 employees.

You can write your feedback at Shital@GrowthCatalystIndia.com.

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