The “Grumpy” Poet – Should Your Clients be Happy 100% of the Time?


Nobody likes shitty service, but if the meal is incredible, that’s what really matters!

-Chef Ramsay

Love him or hate him, he’s got a point! Just so we’re clear, Ramsay isn’t excusing shitty service. Nobody (intentionally) wants to provide slow or unfriendly service in a restaurant but sometimes it happens. As long as you strive to meet the end goal – a quality meal – the customer will be happy. Think about it for a second. We’ve all been to restaurants where the service may have been slow, the waiter/waitress wasn’t that friendly, but we had a great meal.

“How was the new Italian place on the corner”

“The service was slow, but the food is great”

So what does this have to do with clients in our industry? 

We have a motto, maybe you’ve seen it, KEEP MARKETING FUN. What does that mean? Simple, we believe marketing is most successful when the experience (collaboratively) is fun for you (client) and us. As a service provider we are responsible for more than just a quality deliverable, we’re also responsible for providing a quality experience – customer service should always be priority number 1!

Easier said than done! Every service provider (I hope) wants to keep their clients happy by providing both a quality deliverable and experience. But it’s a two way street. We have a system in place and we (believe) manage our clients well, considering we’ve not lost a client or project in over 2 years for bad service. But, that doesn’t mean our clients are happy 100% of the time. It’s just not possible. Egos, emotions, and irrelevant preferences will always exist in every project. It’s our job as service providers to find a diplomatic way to handle each situation.

It’s all about trust!

Most agencies gauge customer satisfaction based on happiness. That’s wrong. It’s easy to do what you’re told: make a logo bigger, change the button colour, re-write a press release, etc. This does not lead to happiness. In fact, clients are not after happiness. It’s a quality deliverable they want. If you make verbatim changes you’re only band-aiding the situation with temporary happiness and not long term success.

A good team (agency) provides feedback. Makes recommendations. Provides alternative solutions. Proves a case with data and long term outcomes. A client isn’t paying for a yes man/woman – they want a team they can trust – after all we’re the experts… right?

Listen to your clients and let them know that you will think through each suggestion and come up with a solution that makes sense. Never promise 100%. Promise you will provide what is best for the product and deliver a quality that will meet your clients customers expectations.

Not every client trusts blindly. It’s ok if they get upset once a and while, after all clients are still human 🙂 But, if you deliver a product of quality that benefits their business – they will be satisfied. You will need to earn their trust one task at at time. Be patient. Always remind the client and yourself why you are doing this.

By constantly bringing things back to the quality of the product, most clients will prefer to see things your way. They will see that you are on their side. They will see a great product in the works.

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