When it comes to the public relations industry, arguably the two most important, and directly correlated issues are client relationships and reputation. Therefore having a system in place to ensure a high level of client satisfaction helps develop and maintain an organization’s reputation amongst its clients. Not only will having an effective feedback system secure your company’s client relationships and reputation, but PRSA’s Tom Cates explains in the July publication of Public Relations Tactics that this system will also “bring to light avenues for upselling and cross-selling,” further securing your company’s financial success as well. Cates continues to explain that is a common folly on behalf of managers to overestimate the quality of poor relationships and underestimate the quality of good ones.
In order to establish a feedback system that accurately addresses client concerns, Cates recommends that four basic guidelines be followed.
1. Begin with the end in mind. Your clients are not filling out these feedback evaluations aimlessly; they are expecting to be heard, and for issues they raise to be promptly addressed.
2. Throw averages out the window. Formulate an evaluation system that treats every client as an individual, producing a more specific, accurate response.
3. Ask varied questions. Avoid giving the clients the option to remain neutral in their responses; you are looking for specific areas to improve upon.
4. Remember, satisfaction ≠ loyalty. Fulfilling the bare minimum of a client’s needs, despite providing ‘satisfactory’ work, does not guarantee repeat business.
We would also argue that applying these same principles to the media with which you regularly interact, is equally as important as addressing client satisfaction. After all, without the media’s satisfaction and positive assessment of your reputation, you will be unable to achieve the hits that can result in client satisfaction.