So you know you have a great product or service but do you lack frequent communication between your business and your clients? The amount of times I contact a supplier of a service or product and end up running the other way by the end of our communication, I would say is around 60%. This is purely because of their communication and customer service skills. If I’m not treated as I would treat one of my clients, I will not use the service. Simple!
Client Management is everything in business. First impressions through to ongoing relationships and close of service relationships are so very important, and I would go so far as to say that client management is the most crucial part of your business and can make or break any business if you don’t get it right.
So much work goes into “winning” new business; lead generation, meeting the client, needs analysis, proposals, follow ups etc. All of this can be a waste of time if you don’t have processes and procedures in place to continue to meet the client’s expectations after winning them over.
There are some simple strategies any business can follow to ensure all clients continue to feel the love for the lifetime of your business partnership.
Build a personal relationship
Getting to know the client on a personal level builds a foundation for growth. Learn about their family, hobbies, what interests them and what motivates them. Knowing this will give you an understanding of how they work and what makes them sparkle, so you can understand not only their methodologies in their work but also find a way to intertwine into their personal life to build a business friendship.
Build trust with your client by communicating. Seek feedback on a semi regular basis. Send out feedback forms each 6-12months ensuring the client knows you are seeking feedback both positive and negative. This not only helps your business grow in areas you may not be doing so well in, but will also create a foundation for open communication. Always respond to the feedback, good or bad, so the client knows you value their input and they are being heard.
Put your listening ears on and hear what your clients are saying. Listen to the concept they are trying to portray and take in what their key message is. Take notes, repeat back the main points they have said and if they use descriptive words, repeat those words to show that you not only hear what they are saying, but you have also taken on the feeling behind what they have said.
It’s necessary to be honest with your clients, even if it means disagreeing with them. If you feel there is a better way of achieving an outcome, speak up. The client will respect you for your openness and ability to share your thoughts.
One of my favorite quotes that I believe sums up client management to a tee is:.
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
By applying these simple strategies to your business, you are automatically building a partnership and opening up communication lines between you and your clients and thereby building a solid foundation for business growth. Client Management is something I am very passionate about and truly believe in the saying “What goes around comes around”.