Gaining Client Insight

If you are a coach or a consultant–and especially if you have “productized” your solution by creating a program or are looking into doing so–you want to see success in your clients’ development and in your relationships. But sometimes, unless clients blatantly express dissatisfaction during our engagements or begin “bad appling,” we can’t really be sure what their satisfaction level is. And we know this impacts our ability to be referred. When clients are dissatisfied with their experiences or their expectations are violated, our value in the marketplace is diminished.

bad appling
Bad appling: When a client spoils the experience or your reputation (or tries to) for the others. Usually because of gaps in experience and expectations.

Signs that we might be losing ground include: attrition, low success rates, no client action on up-sell or cross-sell options, our own frustration with the direction our clients are going (or not going, because they’re not making change), more prospects balking at price, and of course, fewer referrals–either over time or by percentage of clients who work with us.

Too often, solo service providers and business owners will try to treat their symptoms with a perceived panacea (usually tactical), but without a complete analysis and proper diagnosis. This is unfortunate because all of the aforementioned signs might also point to a number of “diagnoses,” including but not limited to:

  • Shifts in the marketplace
  • New alternatives
  • Attracting the wrong clients in the first place
  • Lack of brand value
  • Brand messaging that doesn’t resonate
  • Communications issues
  • Lack of change on our parts to make our vision a reality

If you can’t be sure you have the right diagnosis, it’s a good time for us to talk. Before you waste money and time on efforts that will not work–or will only work temporarily.

Make sure you're solving the problem, not just treating the symptoms.
Make sure you’re solving the problem, not just treating the symptoms.

If you suspect client dissatisfaction is the problem, gaining client insight is one important first-step activity. But it must be done expertly and by a third-party to get the unbiased, REAL answers. Painful as they might be, this knowledge points us in the direction of improvement. It gives us the answers we need to increase our repeat business, stave off attrition, eliminate “bad appling” by clients or participants, and ultimately to be part of their success while being appropriately compensated for it!

Gaining client insight–or even diagnosing the correct problem–is an important but sometimes not urgent activity. That’s why it’s the #30DaysofQ2 challenge subject for Day 29.