This is the last in a seven-post series on how to choose the right creative service provider (writer, designer, photographer, etc.) for your business or organization. This advice is based on what I’ve seen companies do the wrong way over the years. Hope you enjoy and find it useful!

What’s the best measure of client satisfaction? In most industries, it’s repeat business. That’s also one of the most reliable indicators in the creative services business. After all, most organizations have an ongoing need for services, and if they keep returning to the same provider, it’s a sign that they place a great deal of trust and see a lot of value in that provider. If you notice client relationships that are measured in years, rather than months, it’s a sign that your prospective supplier is doing something right.

Keep in mind that some client turnover is inevitable as client contacts change jobs, or business strategies change. And one-time projects may signal a special need, rather than dissatisfaction with the provider. But if there’s a pattern of long-term relationships, the odds are better that your organization will be happy.

There are three basic kinds of repeat business, and all three say good things about a provider. The first type is the ongoing project, which provides evidence that the client is comfortable outsourcing a key project on a long-term basis (often through a succession of client contacts). The second is the client who gives the provider an increasing amount of work and/or projects with greater responsibility. The final kind is the client contact who changes jobs and continues to work with the provider at his or her new employer. Providers who have all three types of repeat business are usually winners.

Learn more in our free report, The Smarter Strategy for Selecting Suppliers, which offers practical, proven advice for choosing the right creative service providers. Get your free copy!