How do you achieve client satisfaction with a service-based business?

If you work in a service-based business you will know how difficult it can be to achieve client satisfaction. It can even sometimes be difficult to properly articulate the value or define the benefit of your services, thereby making it difficult to manage client expectations.

With products, much of the hard work is done for you. Many products are designed to satisfy a clear, well-defined need or purpose – you expect ‘this’ to do ‘that’. Additionally, products come with predefined, tangible attributes – a particular colour, size, shape, weight, quality of raw materials, characteristics and performance measurements, durability etc. Because so many of these things are already defined, and customers have an idea of the product’s intended purpose, they usually have a much clearer set of expectations and it is often easier to ‘satisfy’ them.

But with services, where much of the value or many of the benefits are intangible, it can be very difficult to achieve real ‘satisfaction’. Also, the satisfaction which a client experiences from a service tends to be more transient than that achieved with a product. Usually, so long as the product lasts, it can continue to fulfil its function and continue to satisfy. Indeed, usually the longer it lasts the greater our sense of satisfaction, as the product continually reminds us of its durability and its fitness for purpose.

The sense of satisfaction from a service relies more strongly on our memory or experiences with the service. Generally, service quality varies between providers and the circumstances which they encounter. So client experiences and memories will often be unique – and often inconsistent, which may affect their recollection and perceived level of satisfaction. Services are more susceptible to external factors and outside influences than products as well, which may affect how well they are able to meet expectations.

The best way to offset these several potentially limiting or detracting factors of service delivery is to maintain a proactive and ever-present approach as a service provider. This will enable you to make any necessary adjustments to the service as issues arise; or, even better, enable you to anticipate any drop or change in your client’s satisfaction and respond accordingly. A service is usually much more malleable than a product (which is usually delivered as is) and so, to a certain extent, as a provider you can adapt the service to the changing conditions on the ground.

Service delivery is not a ‘fire and forget’ solution, it requires constant input and attention from the service provider to achieve reliable success. In order to do that, as the service provider you have to maintain a highly visible and proactive approach with your clients and provide constant reassurance that you are available to guide the service on target to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

For more information on successful service delivery contact Marie

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