A client review is a two way communication exercise to determine a number of things:
- What works well
- Where improvements can be made
- Planning for the next 3 months
- Asking for a referral
Feedback is essential in any relationship and the review is a good time to both give and receive feedback. It enables ‘niggles’ to be sorted as well as praise to be received on a particular project, an outcome or general comments. But it is equally important that both parties have their say. It will prove a good foundation going forward and the deeper development of the relationship for a long and pleasant working environment.
You may feel the need to have specific questions to ask at the meeting/Skype call (or however you wish to conduct the meeting) and an agenda is always a good idea as it shows you are planning and taking the meeting seriously. If something hasn’t gone as well as expected or planned it is an opportunity to discuss the whys and wherefores which will eliminate it happening again (or at least reduce the negative impact) and putting in a plan for when things seem to be going awry.
Discussing the systems in place and any areas where they have fallen down (e.g.: where payments have been late or boundaries broken) which can sometimes be sensitive – it’s good to air them here to address and agree the way forward.
It’s also a good idea to brainstorm ideas for their business and where you might see opportunities to extend your services as well as identifying other areas where you may be able to refer others to them to help them achieve their goals. Being pro-active is a key element of a VA and if you are always looking to introduce them to good connections your client will see the added value of using your service. Throughout the relationship always be on the lookout as to how you have added value and ensure these are highlighted at your meeting; be it a fabulous software program that supports the relationship or a connection that was able to fast track an idea they had or an introduction to someone that needed their services.
Discussing the plans for the next 3 months will help you to put plans in place and identify any problems (such as holidays planned) or areas where you can assist – this will also help your client to identify their goals and targets for the period and you can support them in achieving them.
As long as the review has been positive (on both sides) it is an excellent opportunity to ask for a referral – they have just said how great your services are, how happy they are to be working with you and how your systems and style of working are exactly what they need. They will therefore want to support you and enable you to be successful too by securing more clients. It is a very cost-effective method of marketing at your finger-tips.
By asking for anyone else they may know that would benefit from your services gives them the opportunity to think about this (yes, sometimes it doesn’t even enter their mind to do so) and either do some direct introductions or give you some contact information. Always ask if you can use their name when contacting these individuals.
In addition to a referral it is also a good opportunity to ask for a testimonial to be put on your website or on LinkedIn. I would always recommend you give them some ideas of what to write as you don’t want to waste the testimonial but rather let it highlight an excellent service you have or a specific skill you demonstrate; giving clear information of your value that others can relate to.
It is also a great selling point too – some people just don’t place enough emphasis on review meetings and you offer them free (no charging for your time here) but this also means you need to set a length of time and stick to it.
I’d love to hear if this is something you already have or would like to introduce into your business model and what you have found successful in retaining business as well as securing more.