Immigration consultants: good practice, satisfied client

Satisfied new and existing clients are the best source of future business and this is nothing new in the business industry. The best advertisement is by word of mouth so for every one satisfied client who may tell ten other people, good chances that three out of the ten will utilize your services. Clients tend to judge you on the service provided, level of professionalism and how they are treated from the minute they walk in your door. Every client should leave your office feeling like they are the only client you are dealing with and that satisfied feeling is what will bring new clients knocking at your door.

However, you must earn the trust and respect of your client in order to have a satisfied client. For example, if you were diagnosed with a serious illness, you want the doctor to be able to give you clear concise directions no matter the consequences. And you trust him/her to not mislead you. So the way you are being treated by your doctor and whether you trust his/her opinion is how you base your decision on their professionalism. If it was me, I would question, has the doctor listened to my concerns? Has he/she go over diagnosis results? Has he/she explained what is to come or what results I should expect? Was the doctor compassionate towards me? These could be some of the factors that most people will evaluate your business and quality of work that would keep them entrusted in you and pass on your reputation if the opportunity were to come up. Keep in mind that your client did not necessarily had to hire you and they are probably not interested in learning all the rules and regulations of the Canadian immigration system but what they want is a positive result and that they are in good hands, someone they can trust and know that you were the right choice. But always remember that once the client has entrusted in you their confidence and you start working on their file, you must keep up the same level of trust to maintain the results of the satisfied client.

As good practice and especially if you are starting a new business, it is always beneficial to you and the client to send an introductory package that could include your brochure, introductory letter stating the history of your business, your stature within the community or the organizations you belong to, references and the quality statement of your business. Once you meet your client make sure you take the time to learn why and what brought them to use your services. Become involved and interested in their needs and learn what they seek from you and make sure you understand their goals. If you don’t understand, never assume but rather repeat back what your client has said to make sure both of you are on the same page.

Once the matter at hand is established then you should follow through with how you suggest proceeding with their case. You should discuss the terms of the agreement, timelines, cost, deadlines and so on and if, at any time, during the process something changes, it is of extreme importance that you relate the changes to the client. Always stay ahead of the client, for example, if you were given three weeks to complete a document, do you best to have it ready in two weeks or a few days before the deadline as this will show your commitment to your client. Always remember that you cannot lose the trust of your client and if you don’t deliver, the trust is broken. No different if you don’t return phone calls. During a busy day and if you are handling several immigration cases, time can slip away very quickly but on the other hand, the client is ‘one’ and he/she will quickly lose faith in your service if their phone call is not returned. Besides it is just good business practice to always return phone calls; make the client feel that he/she is important to you. Ask them how they wish to communicate with you, email/fax/phone and so on, whatever they are comfortable with, then that’s the way you should communicate with them. If there English or French is not very good, they probably prefer email but it is ok to encourage them to sometimes communicate in either French or English as it would serve them as practice and you are showing the client that you care. If the client is already in Canada, invite them to come to your office and personally meet them and your staff, if any, as this will help make them feel more comfortable with the trust you now have together. After all, your client has had to give you personal and sometimes intimate details to complete their application. You and your staff must give respect and the client will have no problem giving respect and trust to you.

One practice that will sure to break the confidence of your client is the cost of the service. Never, never inflate your prices and under no circumstances present your client with surprise costs throughout the process. Always make sure the cost is discussed up front when the agreement is being signed and very important that any hidden costs are also discussed. As in any business, things come up and additional costs are incurred so you must discuss these costs (you should know from the type of application you are processing what sort of obstacles might come up) upfront to avoid surprises which could ultimately break the trust of your service.

At the end of the day, a satisfied client is satisfied if you show him/her that you care even after all has been said and done. Thank the client for trusting in you. Always provide great service, be loyal and you will have a long, enjoyable satisfying career.

Frances Puglisevich
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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