Senior Concierge Blog

The purpose of this blog is to explain the Senior Concierge profession and to provide on-going assistance to senior concierge professionals with tips and tools for their business, and information from the field about the day and the life of a senior concierge. Enjoy! Rachel Laws Senior Concierge

Monday, March 12, 2012

When a Client Quits-Mark Silver, Heart of Business

Article: The Three Questions When A Client Quits

When clients leave it can be so painful and heart-wrenching. What went wrong? Was it something I said? How could I have messed up so badly?

That's just one side of it. The other side is defensive. "Let'em go. Room for more. Didn't need 'em anyhow."

You don't want to beat yourself up, nor do you want to wall your heart off and just turn your back when a client leaves. You need to have The Conversation.

The Exit Conversation

The conversation starts off with one extremely important statement, and it needs to come from your heart.
"I'm very sad to see you go AND I'm inspired you were able to get clear about what you really need."
It's hard to quit an agreement. You need to support the clarity they've reached.
Express both your sadness and your support for their choice with sincerity and an undefended heart, and the next part of the conversation will become extremely valuable.

Now Ask The First Question

"Can you tell me about what happened for you?" What was their experience? How do they feel? You're trying to learn for yourself what went wrong, and you are also wanting them to feel witnessed.
Most companies don't care if a customer is unhappy. The most you'll get talking to a "customer service representative" (what kind of title is that?) is a mechanical "I'm sorry you weren't satisfied" that feels worse than if they hadn't said anything.
Witness them, and both your heart and theirs will feel lighter.

Then Ask the Second Question

"What could I have done differently?" What would they fix or change? How would they want to see the issue prevented?
First they get witnessed and now they actually get to voice their opinion of how to do it better? If you were the client, just take a moment to imagine how that might feel.
Sweet, eh? They'll love you for it.
Don't criticize or shoot down their suggestions. Just open your heart, listen, and take notes.
You will get a lot of very interesting ideas, and some not so. Some will be actual suggestions you can put to use, others may not be practical to implement. Either way, you are getting some valuable input for how clients are experiencing your business.
And here's the great news: what they actually say will usually be far better than what you were imagining. When I've held exit conversations, I've heard:
  • "Don't do anything different. I just had an epiphany about what I really needed, and I don't think I could have figured it out without trying this out." (This feedback actually helped us get more clear about the must-ask questions in our enrollment conversations.)
  • "I would make this change to your sales materials, so this aspect of the program would be more clear." (Which prompted us to make many changes to our sales pages, highlighting what needed to be clear.)
  • "I needed more personal attention." (Which prompted a conversation about other services, where the client shifted from one program to another.)
Prepare to be surprised at how gentle the conversation can be, even if someone is upset.

Now The Last Question

"What do you need to feel complete?"
You can ask this in different ways, but you want the exit to be a real exit, with true completion. They may want a partial refund, they may want nothing. You'll never know if you don't ask.
There's no need to automatically give them what they ask for. It needs to feel good to both of you. Again, you may be surprised at how little people ask for.
Knowing you are going to ask this question, decide ahead of time what you are willing to give them. This will allow you to not have to think on the spot during an emotionally charged moment.
More importantly, if you are asked for more than feels good to give, instead of just saying "No" (or worse, "Yes" going against your heart), you can say:
"I hear you! Instead of a full refund, I am willing to return 65%. We both put in a lot of work, and it feels fair to account for that."

Preparing Your Tender Heart For the Conversation

If you aren't comfortable with hearing criticism or constructive feedback, I suggest you prepare for the conversation in three ways.
  1. Take some time to remember all the good you've done, the positive feedback you've received from other clients. Once when a client had a very unhappy client herself, I had her total up her clients from the last year, and put them in columns of "Very happy" "happy" and "not happy." Seeing that nearly all of them landed in "very happy" kept her from feeling devastated by this very rare unhappy client.
  2. Have someone in your support circle available right after the conversation. Someone to hear how the call went, who can give you empathy and encouragement in the face of what you heard.
  3. Spend time in Remembrance or other heart-based spiritual practice, and ask your heart, "Is love available even here." Sinking deeper into the stillness and beauty you know is available to you under the chaotic waves of life.
These conversations are not the most fun, but they happen. If handled well, they can improve your business tremendously.
Have you had these conversations? What was your most valuable or surprising exit conversation? Tell us about it or ask questions about where you are challenged.
Share your thoughts and questions on the blog.

p.s. Needing some hands-on help?

With some clients recently completing, all three of us, as it turns out, have client spots open. Jason and Yollana are both amazing and fabulous official Heart of Business practitioners with a ton of experience and fantastic client results to show. If you are drawn to either of them, set up a conversation with one of them.
The last few years a great deal of my time has been taken my in creating and running a team. I've led big classes, facilitated live seminars, managed the growth and care of our business. And I've had very few spaces for individual clients.
That's shifting. If you find yourself moving into thought leadership, perhaps on the brink of real growth, and need to combine the power of profound spiritual surrender with advanced tactics and strategies, let's talk. Take a look and let's set up a conversation.

Care to follow a holistic approach that has been proven to work?

Unveiling the Heart of Your Business, aka The Guidebook, gives you a complete heart-centered map to effective marketing with integrity. Learn the nuts and bolts of how being in business with integrity is more fun, more profitable and actually a part of healing our world.
Hundreds of small business owners around the globe are already using it with great results. Here's what Ellen had to say:
"I want to express again thanks for all that you have given so generously. The value of what I have received from you, your book, connecting with other members -- what an amazing bunch -- not to mention getting reconnected to my inner knowing and guidance... priceless!
"I already feel I have gotten back way beyond what I paid... you give far more value than anyone else in the arena of marketing that I've been in contact with."
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Ellen's a complete gem, and I'm happy to hear that these teachings are helping her business thrive and help others.
How about you? Check it out for yourself:
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