Striving for Greater Client Satisfaction? Make Them Joint Owners
In real estate, joint ownership involves two or more partners sharing control of a property and each having a duty to its well-being. Whether ownership is held equally or in different percentages, everyone is invested. It’s that idea of investment that makes joint ownership a powerful way to think about client relationships and drive deeper satisfaction.
The Power of Joint Ownership
Client satisfaction rarely comes from a singular moment or product. Today, most clients are looking for long-term positive impacts that extend well past a delivery date. It’s about shared understanding of all the desired outcomes of a project, as well as what it will take to get there. Forging an ongoing partnership that reflects the commitment and investment of joint ownership builds this into the process.
Traditional client/service provider relationships involve one party paying the other for delivery of a project. By moving beyond this kind of transactional relationship to one of joint ownership, all parties are actively involved in HOW that delivery happens, not just what is to be delivered. For example, if a software solution company provides a SaaS solution that will help a client keep projects and resources organized and well utilized, it is up to the SaaS company to confirm the software is working correctly and providing the types of support promised. However, only the client can ensure that the software is actually put into use and regularly used in the ways it is meant to be. If either side isn’t invested, it’s virtually impossible to reach the expected level of success. And that investment starts even before the work begins.
Getting from Client to Joint Owner
Project delivery is inherently complicated. If it weren’t, your clients wouldn’t need your help. To maximize outcomes and increase client satisfaction, there are five key practices that can set you up for greater success and help shift your relationship into the realm of joint ownership. By identifying and proactively working to facilitate these early on in your relationships, your business can experience the benefits of joint ownership:
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – You have the power to help clients understand the importance of using your product or service correctly and their role in the project. Ongoing communication is essential.
- Tactic: Without putting too much pressure on a potential client, make sure to encourage an understanding of how they can use your product or service for the best results.
- Align on Expectations – Having a detailed rundown on the product or service being provided makes it easy for clients to know what to expect and gives them a clear picture of how it will benefit them. It also engages them deeper in the effort. Making sure you are all on the same page is the foundation for satisfaction.
- Tactic: Provide a detailed Statement of Work (SOW) before the contract is signed to ensure transparency.
- Emphasize Training – Even the easiest to use service or product requires training. Without good training, your client may miss out on valuable aspects of what you are delivering, use it incorrectly, break elements of the solution, or never understand its full potential.
- Tactic: Provide in-depth training as part of the service and build in a “train the trainer” model to create advocates and experts within the client organization who can train other team members.
- Inspire Adoption – Change is challenging for most people. Ensuring your clients fully transition off of the old product or service they depended on and onto yours takes some effort. Incomplete adoption can cause complications, conflicts, and shortcomings throughout the company. Joint owners have to be all in.
- Tactic: Establish internal advocacy and help managers move off old products to ensure their teams also make the shift for 100% company-wide adoption.
- Offer Post-Service Support – It can be tempting to end a project once the product or service has been delivered to a client, but post-delivery support is a powerful way to keep things on track and maintain ongoing engagement.
- Tactic: Have long-term customer support, maintenance services, and more available and part of the contract, with the benefits clearly communicated.
Elevating your client relationships to joint ownerships requires ongoing engagement and shared perspective on the definition of success. When your clients see themselves as joint owners and know you see them that way, outcomes are improved and the likelihood of repeat business is higher. And that’s a powerful recipe for continued market success.
Improve Your Client Relationships. Improve Your Outcomes.
A joint ownership approach helps you strengthen client relationships and reliably deliver good outcomes. Both are essential to your long-term success. Learn how to improve your overall impact as a company in our insightful new ebook, “Outcomes Engineering: Refining the Long-Term Effects of Your Projects.”