Happy Clients, Happy Life
Read Time: 4 minutes, 30 seconds
Happy clients travel smoothly from that first point of entry- whether a phone call, visit to your website, or a walk through the door- through decision making to the final payment. Happy clients return to your business and recommend you to their family/friends. Happy clients create happy teams, that rely on their own inspiration rather than the motivating carrot to produce more and deepen their commitment levels.
And if clients are happy which makes teams happy, then the boss is happy!
So, when your clients, your team, and yourself all benefit from happiness, how is it you can build such an ethereal element into process and systems to get predictable results? The following key elements are necessary for any happy experience.
Most of us like to feel we have some control over what happens in our lives. Even skeptical consumers become happier when they can participate in decisions about the time, place, pace, or type of purchase they get to make. The choices may seem simple to you: an afternoon or evening appointment, using a coupon when they choose, walking away to think about things, being provided documents that reinforce their decision even after they walk out. When given the empowerment to make decisions that appear to be mutually conducive to their buying values and your selling principles, clients feel optimistic about their chances of finding a solution at your hands.
Understand and Validate
Understanding and validating the client’s choices is essential to creating happiness. For example, a busy patient with two cavities may prefer a dentist care for both cavities at one time, rather than during two separate appointments. Think about it, two separate visits might mean twice the babysitting or doubly taking off precious time from work or facing traffic multiple times. Or, a different patient with the same cavities might want two shorter appointments due to their fear of being in the chair too long. These situations are the important stories of your clients. When understood it’s easier to offer empathy and validate them as a person, which leads to the most important element: trust building.
TIP: When you understand the client’s priorities, you also understand the best way to partner with them.
Show That You Care
A survey by GE Healthcare revealed that the happiest healthcare consumers are those who interact the least with the system. The biggest complaints of patients are that the healthcare teams do not listen to their needs (34%) and are not sympathetic (36%). However, over 50% of senior healthcare leaders believe the team takes enough time to listen and demonstrates empathy for patients—that is a major disconnect and can be applied generally to most service industries.
You have many pressures to deal with. Even though clients realize this, they want you to recognize that they are important. Happy clients feel that you listen and care because you:
- Say hello and address them by name.
- Smile—smiles come through even on the phone when the patient is making an appointment.
- Make eye contact. *Eye contact is particularly important now that the Coronavirus pandemic has led to safety measures that often leave only the eyes visible.
- Give them a chance to speak first and explain their needs.
- Restate and summarize the information they’ve given you, to make sure you understood it.
- Give them clear communication as to what’s happening and what you are doing.
- Watch for signs of confusion, tension, fear, and pain; often bodies speak more loudly than words.
- Let them know you are optimistic about results and how their purchase will positively impact them.
- Clearly and simply explain any follow-up.
- Ask if they have questions or other concerns.
- Say a genuine farewell, continuing to use their name.
TIP: Clear and positive communications, coupled with bubbly energy, energizes interactions between people and leaves everyone feeling heard, understood, and validated which lead to better outcomes.
If you find face-to-face communication difficult, you might want to practice standard phrases such as, “Let me summarize what you have told me so far.”
Stephen M.R. Covey says, “Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust.” The meaning of this phrase applies to all areas of our lives. We move deeper into relationships when we trust. Businesses grow exponentially when they have consumers that trust them. Politicians retain office with a trusting base. Risks are taken when we trust our ability to overcome barriers.
Building trust takes place in the brain which proves again and again that neurotransmitters, hormones, and endorphins play a significant role in creating the common bonds we identify as trust. When intentionally cultured, trust fosters happiness at speeds equal to the level of trust cultured.
Tip: Paul J. Zak, author, Harvard researcher, and professor at Claremont Graduate University reports that “people at high-trust companies have 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and 40% less burnout,” over those that work at companies with less trust.
The eight strategies for creating cultures of trust are:
- Recognize excellence
- Induce “challenge stress”
- Empower employees to choose their work patterns and habits
- Give employees a voice in their own job design
- Communicate often
- Intentionally build relationships
- Facilitate whole-person growth
- Show vulnerability
Happy patients are healthier patients. When you take the time to listen, you find out more about their symptoms and the treatment that will best suit them. You increase the likelihood that they will follow your recommendations and return to your practice.