Working with clients can be a trying task at times but someone has got to do it, and that someone ought to be you. A successful relationship with clients is essential to sustaining and growing any business. First and foremost, you must provide exceptional customer service in a way that sets you apart from all competitors. However, good service alone is no longer enough to capture or retain clientele.
With the advancement of virtual offices and telecommuting, your competition is no longer just those in your local area. Instead, you’re swimming in a much bigger pond of competitors ready to accommodate what clients you cross. Here are a few tips for keeping your cool when dealing with clients and maintaining a long-term and fruitful business relationship:
Know your role.
Remember that the client is the expert of their needs. Make it a priority to get as much information about the client as possible. By spending time collecting information, the client feels that they are a part of the process. They have specific needs and your job is to find solutions tailored to those needs. It is also important to approach each client differently. To make sure you don't run the risk of confusing and/or alienating clients, make sure you keep their needs as a focal point. For those clients who do not seem to know it all, guide them along the right path and educate them. Expanding their depth of knowledge will keep them coming back for more.
Maintain communication at all times.
From the moment you take the first phone call or give your first pitch, keep the lines of communication open. Whether it is setting aside time to meet or chat on the phone, it is important to keep the ball rolling. Be sure to practice proper email etiquette and read and respond messages in a timely fashion. Always keep your clients in the loop, nobody wants to cut a check and then not hear from you for days or weeks.
Be organized and define requirements.
Disorganization can be the death of a business and a relationship. When undertaking a project, it is essential to finalize and reinforce any requirements the client requests. Set reasonable and attainable goals and deadlines for when to meet these particular requirements. This will make you more efficient, and your client happier by lowering the cost of delivery. A job not well done can usually be traced back to the beginning stages when expectations were not well defined. Paperwork isn’t fun, but it has to be done for the sake of clarity and transparency.
Successful client relationships are not just about being nice and friendly no more than they are about solely about producing high quality work. Finding a balance between both sides of the client relationship spectrum is crucial to future success and continued client support. If you aren't giving your clients the service they need rest assured another company will be ready to swoop in and give them what they need. After all, someone has got to do it.