The life force of every business is in how it interacts with its clients. Lose sight of this and your business could collapse like a house of cards. This is why every business owner must endeavor not just to manage, but also nurture their client and business relationships.
It’s not just enough to only get in touch when you’ve got something to sell — you need to maintain and grow your relationships. Clients don’t like feeling ignored, and this can directly result in discontent with your services, even in the absence of any direct customer concerns with those services. So, what can you do to better manage your client relationships?
Execute Projects Speedily
Nothing is quite as impressive as delivering excellent work on time. Clients love this. Make sure that you communicate updates and goals and make sure that you set reasonable deadlines you can reliably meet. Increase collaboration among workers and monitoring using task and time management tools. They can give you a bird’s-eye view of the client’s project at all time and allow you to track the individual tasks and their assignees.
Maintain Constant Client Communication
Effective communication is the key to successful client relationships. In fact, prioritize client contact and communication. Your clients must always be in the loop — send them weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly updates on your progress and make sure that you provide the opportunity for any issues that develop to be resolved.
If you use a CRM or task management platform, allow your clients the ability to use and contribute to those efforts. This will prevent or ease any concerns that could arise as well as allow for a more seamless integration of effort.
Manage Client Expectations Effectively
One of your priorities should be actively handling and meeting expectations. This is the key to excellent client relationships. Understand that your services were engaged to fill a need or provide a solution to a problem.
This is why it is imperative for you to find out exactly what the client is looking for in hiring your service. For instance, if your business provides CRM solutions like the Scoro Software platform, your ideal clients should be individuals and organizations looking to effectively manage their client database, as well as manage their workloads and leads. Make sure that you match your services and the tone of your client communications to their needs and their situations.
Also, understand that over-promising is just as bad as under-delivering. In fact, the former almost certainly leads to the latter. While many of the expectations are set by the problem your services solve or address, many of them come directly from your interactions.
Prioritize Your Clients
It’s not uncommon for a business to find that 80% of its revenue is brought in by 20% of your clients — this 20% should be your top priority. Bear in mind this doesn’t mean you should ignore the other 80%, we’re just saying make sure that you understand who your top clients are and arrange your efforts accordingly.
Stay in touch with the top customers, contact them frequently, invite them to in-house parties and get-togethers, and keep them apprised of their project’s progress as often as is prudent. You don’t necessarily want to bug them, but you absolutely don’t want them to take their business elsewhere because they feel neglected or under-supported
Admittedly, keeping 100% of your clients satisfied 100% of the time is a pipe dream. But it’s just not enough to sign new accounts and get new clients — what matters most is what you do to keep them.
Luckily, most people are very reasonable and understand that there will be events and situations outside your control. After all, they are sure to have encountered those kinds of situations in their own lines of work. But with effective management of your client relationships and expectations, as well as effective management of the company assets that fulfill them, you should be well on your way to building and maintaining the kind of trust a business needs to thrive.
Oscar King is a freelance writer and small business owner who contributes articles and insights about the latest business and technology trends, as well as advice for the aspiring entrepreneur.
Photo by Nguyen Hung Vu, sourced from Flickr.