Project Management

Are Your Clients Unhappy? Look for These Signs

client-dissatisfaction-signs

For services-based businesses, two things are essential: providing consistently high-quality work and staying in tune with your clients’ needs. While this may seem obvious, it’s easy to miss the telltale signs of an unhappy account—especially when your days are filled with back-to-back projects for multiple companies.

But if satisfaction dips too low, it can be incredibly difficult to win back trust. To keep your clients happy and on board, keep an eye out for these red flags—they’re good indicators that you need to take immediate steps to repair the relationship. Giving your accounts the attention they need can help you build a loyal client base and long-term success.

Complaining About Quality

One of the clearest signs of waning client satisfaction is consistent complaints about the work they’re receiving. This can range from issues that require a massive project overhaul to seemingly minor grievances. In either case, it’s the consistency that points to a bigger problem. If a client is already unhappy with your company, they’re more likely to find and voice issues on any scale.

Comparing the Competition

It’s not a good sign if your point of contact regularly calls out what a competitor promises to deliver when discussing your projects. In fact, it may mean the organization is actively exploring other options. Happy clients are less prone to look around for what other services providers can offer them after awarding an assignment. If your client does this, it may be a sign that they’re close to terminating future business with you—and changing their opinion will require serious work on the part of your team.

Not Responding to Calls or Emails

Regular communication is key to maintaining good client relationships. You need to stay in touch and on the same page regarding both ongoing work and upcoming needs. Not every client will respond promptly to every email, call, and message, but a complete lack of response may be a symptom of a deeper issue. The harder it is to get in touch with them and the less interested they seem in continuing the conversation, the more likely they’re unhappy—and maybe even uninterested in continuing to work with your company.

Questioning Promised Results

For any project to succeed, you need client buy-in. You need them to trust your company to deliver results and produce high-quality work. And you need them to use your product or service the way they’re supposed to, in accordance with your guidelines. If your client doesn’t have faith that you can deliver what you’ve promised, they’re probably not happy. One way this often shows up is constant questioning of whether you can hit deadlines or provide what they’ve paid for. This lack of trust can make a client more likely to search for alternatives and less likely to use your service or product to their full potential.

Referring to Contract Terms

Having a detailed statement of work (SOW) is critical to ensuring your organization and your clients are in full agreement as to what will be delivered and when. But if your client consistently brings up specific lines in the contract, they may be doubting that your team will live up to its promises. If they don’t trust what you’ve put in writing, it’s likely they haven’t been satisfied with past results. Or maybe they haven’t been satisfied with work provided by similar companies, in general. Either way, a conversation might be in order.

If you suspect a client isn’t happy, act fast—before they end their contract and start looking for a new company to fulfill their needs. Work quickly to repair the relationship. And regain their trust by providing top-quality work and clear communication to ensure return business and more reliable future success.

Succeed at Every Level

Strong, well-managed projects breed satisfied clients and drive success. To learn what you should focus on in your day-to-day work, download our eBook, “The Five Most Critical Project Metrics.”

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