How to build client relationships with these top tips
Positive client relationships are an essential part of many businesses and hold many advantages. They can assist with sales and drive mutual business transactions. Regular communication is the cornerstone of building strong relationships with clients, but there are many other factors to consider when aiming to maintain these bonds. In this article, we cover why relationships with clients are important, advise on how to build client relationships and offer some useful tips.
Why is it important to know how to build client relationships?
There are many reasons why it's important to know how to build client relationships. Client-centred companies rely on strong client relationships to increase repeat business. If you're able to satisfy a customer by offering them a high-quality product or solution and excellent customer service, they're more likely to recommend your company to others. Therefore, not only do client relationships generate repeat business, but they also bring in new customers.
Client relationships also allow you to have a better understanding of your target audience. This means that you can tailor your business goals and take on new projects that are of value to your clients. Customers engage easily with businesses that they've already tried and tested. As a result, maintaining good relations with established clients is a core area for your business to focus on. By doing so, they become trusted connections and brand advocates that come back time and time again.
How to build client relationships
It's essential to know how to build client relationships because your first transaction with a client is the most important. This moment determines whether a customer uses your services again, which is important to establish a long-lasting client connection. There are many things you can do to build and maintain a good client relationship. Here are some useful steps to consider:
1. Communicate openly and clearly
Good communication with clients is a priority. This is important if you want to foster an open relationship with customers and answer their needs. All communication needs to be timely and efficient, but don't sacrifice personal time or encroach upon your daily business operations to ensure this.
Communication is best when it's natural between you and your clients. To ensure this, offer several contact methods and lend your advice or expertise where necessary. Always aim to be available to speak to them and answer any questions. This shows that you care and ensures you're always accessible to the client.
2. Create accountability
Even if you go above and beyond to facilitate good lines of communication, a good client relationship may falter if the client doesn't express interest. Good relationships are open and reciprocal, which means that both you and the client are accountable for its success. It's crucial that you set expectations for the client. This could mean ensuring they meet deadlines or making sure they only contact you during business hours. Clarify expectations at the beginning of your client relationship and adjust or reaffirm them as necessary.
3. Be solution-orientated
It's natural to sometimes make a mistake or misjudge the situation when dealing with clients. However, what sets you apart from other businesses is how you bounce back from these mishaps. Address the issue immediately and remain open and honest with the client. Make sure that you apologise where necessary and offer solutions to the problem. You may consult with your team before strategising a solution. This shows the customer that you value them and wish to satisfy their needs.
4. Ask for feedback
Ideally, you want feedback to be consistent throughout your interactions with the client, not just at the end of your business. Ask your client how you can improve your service or what they valued most about your product. Always consult clients after the onboarding process to maintain a line of communication. Getting feedback from clients shows them that you're interested in their happiness and allows you to gain constructive insight into what you can do better for future clients. Remember, it's never too late to follow up.
5. Be positive
A client can only remain happy if you do, too. As a professional, you have a responsibility to maintain good customer service. If your company is experiencing challenges or delays, stay optimistic and think of a solution. Your calm approach to the situation can ease any client concerns and ensure that they keep faith in your service. This is because you're demonstrating a proactive response to business and exuding confidence with your actions. What's more, clients enjoy being around enthusiastic individuals who can brighten their day.
6. Share knowledge
As an expert on the product or service that a client requires, you're in a privileged position. Inform customers about new, relevant releases, describe how your product works, or let clients know of any project changes. As a business, you could also create tutorials or run training sessions for clients to learn about your product or service. By doing this, you're delivering what you promised and more. You're building trust and allowing customers to feed connected to your business.
7. Stay open-minded
There's no point in requesting feedback from your clients if you're not willing to consider it or take it on board. Clients can sometimes offer valuable suggestions on how to improve a product or speed up the production process. A client is unlikely to suggest something that is to the detriment of your business, as they rely on it too. Therefore, keep an open mind when dealing with specific suggestions and always be honest with the client. Some individuals choose to please the customer to avoid confrontation, which can appear false or be of no value to the client.
8. Understand your client's needs
Listen to what your customer needs and how they operate. You can find this information out during the onboarding process or through follow-up calls. The better you understand them, the more you can tailor projects and update them on sales that are relevant to them. You can foster a good clientele relationship through the smallest of means, whether it be recyclable packaging or product demonstrations. These small changes can have a large impact on how customers view your service and keep them coming back.
9. Exceed customer expectations
The ability to exceed expectations comes with understanding simple client needs. Alongside tailored sales and new projects, always ensure that you offer fast and efficient deliveries and operate on a realistic timeline. Good customer service takes precedence over larger aims, as you are available to answer questions or give advice upon request. Be reasonable with your expectations and don't oversell yourself.
10. Build a personal rapport
Since client relationships develop over a long period, you may learn some personal details about your client. The extent of this personal connection varies according to how appropriate it is to your industry, but may include things such as their music taste, their beliefs or whether they have children. Building a personal rapport with your client shows them that you are more than just a corporate face.
It shows that you see them as a person rather than a business transaction, which is important. Start by asking how their children are doing or talking about any upcoming events in your local area. These social interactions can improve professional relationships with clients.
Tips for maintaining client relationships
The nature of client relationships may differ according to how your business operates. However, there are some general factors that need to be universally understood for companies wanting to establish strong bonds with clients. Here are some useful tips for maintaining good client relationships:
Consider each client on an individual basis: No client is the same, and all have different needs and desires. Aim to offer bespoke service as far as possible so that you can provide unique solutions for customers and maintain a personal service.
Remember that time is essential: Be sure to communicate clearly regarding deliveries, product updates or payment schedules. You don't want to encroach upon your time having to answer to complaints, nor do you want to put a customer in that position.
Be patient: A client comes to you regarding a particular product or service because they need help, so it's important that you stay positive and reassure them every step of the way.
Listen: If you can reference something that a client brought up in an earlier conversation, this shows that you care. Listen to everything they have to say and make notes to better understand their needs and enhance communications.
Research: Conduct sales research to better understand what your customer needs and how you can provide for them. This helps ensure that you offer advice tailored to their individual goals and objectives.
Always look to the next step: For client relationships to progress, business operations need to continue moving. Make sure that your client understands what your next move is and how it facilitates your needs.
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