Why People Matter: How to Maintain Great Client Relationships
Learn about some key principles that can help you build great relationships with your clients
Sooner or later, every business owner is faced with the challenging task of maintaining good relationships with their clients. Being skilled at client relationship management is essential for business growth, as having a loyal customer base can make the difference between thriving or going out of business.
However, and despite the critical importance that maintaining excellent client relationships has, some business owners fall into an all-too-common trap: putting more effort into finding new clients than into keeping the existing ones. To help you avoid this common pitfall, we have put together some tips on how to cultivate long-term relationships with your clients.
Clear and open communication is the building stone of every relationship, including those that take place in business settings. Keeping your communication with clients clear entails listening carefully to them (see below), asking for clarification when required, and dealing with any issues promptly. This also involves keeping your clients informed of any projects or news that might be relevant to them and requesting regular feedback through a combination of formal and informal means. You can use this checklist to make sure that your communication is effective and clear at all times.
Be a good listener
Being a good listener is a crucial (but often underrated) business skill. Paying close attention to what your clients say can help you discover new niche markets and develop brilliant business ideas that can help your business grow. More importantly, listening to your clients makes them feel valued and instills a sense of loyalty in them.
Whether you choose to meet in person or through conference calls, regular meetings can help add a personal element to the relationship with your clients. Nowadays, a large number of business interactions are conducted over the phone or by e-mail, so putting a face to your communications can make a real difference to how your clients perceive you.
Keep your word
Honesty and trustworthiness are crucial elements in the development of long-lasting relationships with your clients. This entails fulfilling all the contractual responsibilities that you may have with a particular client, as well as being able to deliver and meeting deadlines, even if that means putting in some overtime. As time goes by, you will find that clients come to rely on you and that they spread the word about your business.
How about treating your clients to dinner or drinks every now and then? Have you considered organising a sports hospitality event? Of course, there is no corporate hospitality solution that fits all, so this is where taking a personal interest in your clients comes in. During your dealings with your clients, you will have many opportunities to find out what are their interests and hobbies. You can then use this information to treat your clients to a hospitality event that is relevant and much appreciated. For some clients, an invitation to watch a rugby match at Twickenham can be the highlight of the year, whereas others will find that a comedy masterclass is the perfect form of corporate entertainment.
To sum up, one of the keys to successful client relationship management is making every effort to show your customers that they matter to you as individuals. Apply the principles mentioned in this article to every business interaction and you will soon reap the rewards.