Nothing is tougher than waiting for positive change. You’ve put the work in, the time in, and the thought in, but you can’t see any difference yet. It’s awful. You get anxious. You question whether your efforts are ever going to pay off. You start to wonder if things will ever improve. You need some sort of sign, otherwise you’re going to quit.
And with some things, those signs of change are clear, a different number on the scale, a seedling sprouting from the ground, or dingy, worn out carpet removed and in its place shiningly new hardwood. But with other change, you’re not even sure what “better” will look like. You’re not sure when you can go ahead and give yourself that pat on the back, but you do know that you need it.
Client Experience Metrics – Will They Work for You?
And that’s what it’s like when it comes to the client experience, no clear and easy way to know just how well you’re doing. You can use metrics like a net promoter score (which is how likely someone is to recommend your company to someone else), customer satisfaction rate (usually given in a 1-5 star rating), or a customer retention rate (how many customers continue to work with a business within a certain period of time). But it’s not easy.
In fact the tough part about metrics like these is, that you have to have massive amounts of data, and customers, to get a real picture of how well you’re doing. Having a total however of say, 10, clients for the year, is just not enough to give you a great picture of what’s working, what’s not, and what needs improvement.
Then, there’s the even bigger problem. And that is, that these metrics rely on the fact that customers have no problem giving honest answers. And they have no fear because to them, they’re giving honest feedback about a company, not a person. For you, however, where everything is up close and personal with your clients, the possibility that they’ll fib a little, or a lot, to spare your feelings, is a real issue.
And because it’s so real, that kind of data is not entirely reliable. It also takes quite a bit of time and math, neither of which you may be interested getting involved with. So, you have to find a different way. You have to find a way to still assess and understand whether or not your client experience efforts are actually giving you the return on investment that you want and need, without massive amounts of anonymous feedback at hand. So, what do you do?
A New & Easier Way to Track Client Experience Efforts
Well, you start using what I call my “need help/give thanks” system. The system that in two simple numbers, shows how well you’ve improved your communication with clients, how much clients appreciate your new efforts, and how many problems clients are still finding within their project. It’s a quick and easy way to find out, “is our work on improving the client experience, actually improving the client experience,?” with very little effort on your part.
What is this system though, really? What is this quick and easy tell all way? Well, it’s essentially a recording of how many times clients reach out because they need help with a problem or question about the project, and how many times clients reach out to say thank you for something you’ve done. It’s an observation to find out, what are clients going out of their way to mention to us? What are they willing to make that extra effort to share? Are they mostly problems, or appreciations? And is one number wildly bigger than the other? Or are they about equal? The answers are incredibly telling.
The best part about it though, is that the route to these numbers is thankfully quite simple. You just create a simple spreadsheet where you have a place to record a client’s name, the date of their reach out, the situation they’re reaching out about, and a column to check off whether it’s a “need help” situation, or a “give thanks” situation. Then every time a client reaches out with one or the other, you just quickly pop it in. And eventually, you start tallying up how many checks you got in each column.
I mean, it’s an incredibly easy task, with a huge pay off. With just a few minutes of effort each time, you can figure out just how big your client problems are, or aren’t. And just how much praise you’re actually getting, despite your likely understatement of it.
The Difference Won’t Be Overnight
Here’s the thing though. Don’t expect these numbers to move right away. Give it some time between when you start working on your client experience, and when you actually start seeing a change in your numbers. The change won’t be overnight.
Most likely, it’ll probably take around two to three months of consistent client experience efforts for you to see a noticeable difference. And during that in between time, if you can, try to just keep your head down and stay focused. Try not to check in over and over with your numbers looking for progress. Slow and steady wins the race on this one, and constant check ins can cause disappointment, and sometimes surrender. So, do what you can to give yourself a check in date no earlier than two months from the beginning of your serious and consistent efforts to improve your client experience.
In the mean time, stay patient my friends. And after your time is up, analyze and assess. What are the numbers telling you? Are the “need help” numbers lowering and the “give thanks” numbers rising? If not, what’s the culprit? And what can you do to change it? What tasks or people need to be put in place to lower the “need help” numbers? And what tasks or people need to be put in place so you can raise the “give thanks” numbers even more? Really take a moment and think. Then, make changes.
Measuring Progress Doesn’t Need to Be Complicated, to Be Effective
Because the thing is my friends, when you work on making a difference, you need to have a way to measure its effectiveness. You have to have a way to know when it’s time to pat yourself on the back, and when it’s time to get real with yourself and find out what’s going on.
And the best way to do that, especially as a small business, is to have a quick and easy way to create that “before” and “after” snapshot. So go ahead, implement the “need help/give thanks” system and discover all of the unforeseen ways that you’re nailing it not only as a designer, but as a client experience expert as well, transforming not only your business, but your bank account as well.
SWEETLY SIMPLIFIED ACTION
So for this week’s “sweetly simplified action,” let’s find out just how much your hard work is paying off.
Sweetly Simplified Action: Create a “need help/give thanks” spreadsheet and start recording each time a client reaches out on their own to ask for help with a problem or question, or to give thanks for a job well done. Then, after 2-3 months of consistently working on improving your client experience, check back to see if your “need help” numbers have lessened, and your “give thanks” numbers have increased. If not, assess what your problems were and make the appropriate changes. If so, keep up the great work, and maybe even take things up a notch!
Let me know in the comments below, do you currently measure your client experience efforts? I’d love to know!
And if you’re looking for just how to improve your client experience, then take a look at what we’ve got for you here!