Clients can be fickle creatures. One minute they’re singing your praises, the next minute you’re fielding their frustrated phone call.
Your clients are the reason you have a profitable enterprise and your relationships with those clients will affect how long they use your product or services. But how can you strengthen your existing relationships and nurture new ones?
Every client is unique, but here are some general principles to adhere to as you build up your business.
If you met someone at a cocktail party on Saturday, you wouldn’t expect them to call you on Sunday to help them move a sofa. Relationships take time to develop and people want to work with businesses who are genuinely concerned with their needs.
If you meet a contact that you know would be a great client, take the time to get to know the individual and the company before you press for a business relationship. Friendships often blossom into profitable partnerships, but it can take a while to nurture that trust.
Treat Every Client as if They’re Your Only Client
Clients can have some crazy demands, but make sure to go the extra step to make them happy. You have your core businesses, but some clients need customized services. Bend the rules as long as it doesn’t cost your company a significant amount of resources. Who knows, pushing yourself and your staff might allow you to expand beyond your comfort zone and offer up new revenue streams.
Content clients are more willing to refer you, partner with you on projects or simply offer you repeat assignments. Small clients have the potential to turn into big clients, so don’t offer up subpar service to anyone.
Go Beyond the Email
It’s possible to conduct business entirely by email, but relationships are forged face to face. While much of your day-to-day communication with clients can be online, try to make the effort to meet with them in the real world on a consistent basis. Lunches, coffees, drinks and industry events are all great spaces to reconnect with clients once every few months.
If in-person meetings are impossible due to distance or schedules, consider Skype or a phone call to put a more personal touch on your conversations. Think about creating a newsletter, blog or message board to keep your clients updated with your achievements. Surveys are also a great way to solicit feedback. Clients love to be heard, make it easy for them.
Be Aware of Your Clients’ Goals
Keep on top of what your client is trying to achieve with your relationship. Are you helping them scaling up? Are you a part of their new product launch? Are they restructuring? Be sensitive to your client’s needs and offer them the next step toward reaching their goals.
Answer Queries — Quickly
Clients are trying to meet their own tight deadlines and they may not have the luxury of waiting until the next business day for you to respond. If you don’t check your email consistently throughout the day, make sure to create some sort of alert on your computer or phone when a client tries to contact you.
Sometimes simply acknowledging their request is enough, giving them the peace of mind to know that someone is on top of their problem.