How to deal with your Clients’ Dissatisfactions?
By Nguyen Hoang An (s3309967)
For some graduates – to – be, the ideal image of their future career is to see their clients’ happy faces after you have completed, in your opinion, an amazing project. However, reality always proves the opposite, therefore, taking a serious look into the scenario when clients feel dissatisfied with your work is essential.
Even though, my interviewee, my friend – Mr. Nguyen Quoc Duy, Chief Editor of POSE online magazine – is on a business trip in Hanoi, he tried to find a timeslot in his hectic schedule to talk to me about his experience in dealing with clients’ dissatisfactions.
‘You are now my client, I cannot let you down,’ Duy politely joked about my concern of interrupting his business trip.
With the experience working at some famous communication agencies like Sunflower Media, Galaxy Communication and now at POSE online magazine, Mr. Nguyen Quoc Duy has so many things to share about the topic that I am interested in. However, let’s take a look at how important satisfying a client is in communication industry.
No one can deny the importance of satisfying one client, Oliver (1980) stated in Cronin and Morris (1989) said that client’s satisfaction is the key element for client’s future buying decisions and more importantly, post – purchase attitudes. Receiving a completed work can be satisfying to a client and it likely leads to future collaboration with the agency.
Another study conducted by Kandampully and Suhartanto (2000) claims that customer/ client’s satisfaction is the reason to gain customer loyalty and increase the brand image. Client plays an important role in the business of all communication agencies as they are the ones who judge the agency on its ability and creative work, so by satisfying the clients, undoubtedly, the agency’s image and reputation will be known in the market.
As I started to mention about the client’s satisfaction, Duy stated:’Clients are our god and believe me, they are aggressive gods.’ ‘They have the right to complain about everything you have done including creative brief, presentation, the budget, the suppliers, the execution or even the art work by experienced graphic designers,’ he listed. According to Duy, as a representative of your agency you cannot say anything about their complaints as they are the ones who pay you but there are tips that can help you overcome these complaints of dissatisfied clients without offending or hurting them.
‘Blaming your client is not the solution’
Your client may say that the work did not meet their expectation, or the project did not convey the message they gave to you in the brief, etc. The thing you should do is to insist that you did not do what was not in the brief and if your clients are reasonable people, they will realize the problem and stop blaming you on everything. ‘If the client keep on insisting that it is your false, they may be looking for some benefit like having a discount,’ Duy said aggressively. The important thing Duy suggested me to do is to always show my professionalism, and in the case the client keeps on telling you that you are the one to blame, politely deny the contract and collaboration in the future.
‘Be very careful with regularly complainers’
According to Duy, you never want a single client to be dissatisfied enough to make that problem public. Because at the end of the day, you still want potential customers see you as a credible agency. ‘In fact, complainers are not bad customers, they contributed to the development of your team,’ Duy affirmed. Moreover, take that as a lesson for you, have a look at the whole process to see what you did wrong and things that might have been done better, it turns out that a failure actually a valuable lesson for you.
‘Honesty can save the day’
In cases when you actually have made something wrong, being honest and a sincere apology can save the relationship between you and your client. ‘Offer them a special price or discount can also be a makeup plan for the customers and make them stay with you,’ Duy friendly suggested. Duy also recommended that you should give them the work that did not meet their expectation and propose a solution for future execution, by doing that, the agency can build more trust with the client.
‘Communicate and Guide your client’
According to Duy, the agency should always follow up the client in order to get their full idea. Sometimes, what you have done is not what is in their mind, the problem is that the client do not know how to express it or do not have any idea how to explain it by words, it comes to the agency’s responsibility to guide them so that both sides can compromise and collaborate effectively.
‘Be your clients’ bff’
It is less stressful and more relax if you can talk to your clients as a friend, according to Mr. Duy. ‘Invite your client out to dinner, coffee shop, clubs, bars, etc where you can actually talk to them personally’ Mr. Duy suggested. Doing this can help you to get to know more about your client’s perspective and from that you can satisfy their expectation.
The conversation ended when Mr. Duy had to go and prepare for a pitch. Thank you my friend – Mr. Nguyen Quoc Duy – for sharing his valuable experience in dealing with Clients’ dissatisfaction. The key point is to always be polite and be professional, by keeping the agency at a certain position, the credibility of not only you but also the whole agency will be remained and referrals are likely to happen.
(All images used in the article was given permission by the interviewee to publish)
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Cronin J & Morris M, 1989, ‘Satisfying Customer Expectations: The Effect on Conflict and Repurchase Intentions in Industrial Marketing Channels’, Journal of the Academy Of Marketing Science, Vol. 17, pp. 41 – 49.
Kandampully J & Suhartanto D, 2000,’Customer loyalty: the role of customer satisfaction and image’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 12, pp. 346 – 351.
Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service, Kaplan Publishing, New York, US.