Professional New Year Resolutions – Happy Clients, Happy 2015

It is a good idea at this time of year to pause, take a step back, evaluate the previous year and look ahead to the next.

Recapping what we've achieved over the last 12 months, and what our goals are for next year, got me thinking about what my top tips for developing and evolving client relationships will be. So here are my top 5 recommendations; let me know if there are any you’d add to the list…

1. Never get complacent

There is always a danger, particularly when work is going well and positive relationships have been established, of becoming complacent. This should never happen. Don’t ever assume clients will stay, no matter how great things are. Avoid getting into a rut. Clients should always be treated as if they are new, and you should never miss a chance to present new ways of working and remind them why you became their partner in the first place.

2. Analyse the status of your relationship

Think carefully about each relationship - is it transformational, or merely transactional? The latter might work for a while, but only the first will lead to long term, positive outcomes for you both. What can you do to deepen each relationship and encourage ‘customer intimacy’? What will make the relationship more ‘sticky’? Honest, upfront analysis will allow you to identify and tackle any issues before they have a chance to become problems.

3. Challenge the norm

You must regularly challenge the norm – both theirs, and yours. How can you make things better? Quicker? Smarter? More effective? What was good yesterday and is good today might not be good in the future, never lose sight of this.

4. Spend more time looking outwards & forwards

Always look to the future when considering your strategy. Who is your next client? How will you reach them? How will you differentiate yourself from the competition? Ensure you’re futureproofing solutions as you develop them. It can be hard to find time for this, but looking outwards and forwards it vital to securing future success, for yourself and your clients. Be the first to provide a solution that problem your client doesn’t even realise they will have in the future!

5. Have fun!

Teams that enjoy their jobs will give more, and clients will see the difference. Make sure you, and those around you, have opportunity and reason to enjoy what you’re doing. Genuine enthusiasm and passion are highly infectious and always shine through; it’s invaluable!

Of course the list could go on, but the five points above cover off the key areas from my point of view. I'll be keeping them in mind throughout 2015, and suggest others do too.