We work so hard to get clients, yet often we forget how important it is to maintain a relationship with them once we have them onboard. It is essential to value your clients and make them feel special, it will make life easier for everyone involved – and they will love you for it.
Achieving a successful relationship with your clients not only keeps everyone happy but is an important step towards growing the credibility of your business. A satisfied existing client is your best source of future business. Your client will not only continue to use your services, but they are your best referral source for obtaining new clients. In the end, a client that loves you is more fun to work with than one that doesn’t.
In the current economic climate it is more important than ever to get this right, if you don’t, clients will minimise their spend – or pull their budget completely. With this in mind, here are 7 tips for you to follow to ensure your clients are always happy:
1. Get to know your client
Relationships have more chance of success if you take the time to get to know each other. You will most likely spend many hours with your client while completing the project so it is a good idea to learn a little about your client’s interests outside of work. Your clients will enjoy having conversations with you about their interests and it will show you care.
Make a point to learn something new about each client every time you meet, keep a track of this information and refer to this topic next time you meet.
2. Go the extra mile
You must be prepared to put in the ‘hard yards’. If you had all the time in the world this would be easy, however you don’t, so you must learn to be efficient and productive with your time.
The greatest success comes when clients know you are prepared to put in a little extra time after hours if an issue arises. They won’t take advantage of this but will know they have someone they can rely on. It is important to establish this commitment to your client early on in the relationship.
3. Be punctual
A lack of punctuality will destroy any business relationship. It seems so simple and so obvious but you would be surprised how many people don’t actually arrive on time to meetings. Be strict about arriving on time and create a diary reminder that works for you.
Arriving late indicates you value your own time more than that of the client’s. You must be there ready to go when the client arrives. The client might be late – that’s alright and acceptable – be understanding when they arrive.
4. Revisit tradition
People get so caught up with electronic communications and forget that there is other, sometimes more appropriate alternatives.
After initially meeting with your clients, send a with compliments slip in the mail with a hand written note thanking them for meeting with you. Clients will really appreciate the personalised touch. If you really want to make an impression – include something extra like two movie tickets with the note.
This is just another way of showing you are focused and paying attention to your clients needs. It shows you care.
5. Value their opinion – but honesty is the key
Always listen to what your client has to say and value their opinion. It is sometimes easier to agree with all that your clients say but you have to remember you are the expert and are hired to advise them. If you agree with everything, you are not doing your job.
Clients don’t expect you to agree with everything they say; they would prefer your honesty. Remember there is a fine line and sometimes you may have to change their opinions slightly to deliver the results required.
6. Never take clients for granted
Your clients are the reason you are in business. Never assume they will always be there. You must continue to earn their trust and prove to them you care and value their business.
One way to prove this is to arrange care calls or meetings designed specifically as a time to find out if your clients have any problems with your services. This is your opportunity to adjust your service, examine any gaps and follow up on any reported problems. Let your clients know you value their input and take the time to incorporate their advice and suggestions. The focus of this call is strictly to determine if the client if satisfied or has any concerns and for you to demonstrate you genuinely care are willing to work towards fixing these problems.
7. Touch base regularly
Lastly, make sure you are regularly in contact with your clients to let them know they are on your mind and you haven’t forgotten about them. At the start of the week send them a quick email to let them know what you are planning to do for them that week. At the end of the week let them know whether you did or didn’t do it. Clients will really appreciate your effort taken to keep them updated on the situation and are going to extra efforts to show you care.
– James Ward is the CEO of First Rate, a company specialising in online direct response marketing (www.firstrate.com.au).
How to keep your clients happy