10 Ways To Improve Your Client Relationships
How To Improve Your Client Relationships
Client relationships are the bread and butter of small business. In the years that the Landmarks Team has been working with businesses around the world there is one thing in common that all thriving companies have…
Great client relationships.
Today we’re going to share with you how we’ve been building and maintaining relationships with our clients for over 32 years! They aren’t difficult to master and it is our mission to help you grow your business to new heights – now and in the future… in a pandemic or not.
How to Improve Your Client Relationships
- Make Communication Quick & Easy
There is a great quote from the TV Show Bones where one of the characters is trying to communicate with Dr. Brenan and he says to her, “Clarity is a Rarity.” Like Wowza, isn’t that the truth. Just because it seems clear to you doesn’t mean it’s clear to them. Whenever you can, over communicate what is happening, expectations, outcomes, feedback, etc.
At Landmarks we take this very seriously and so much so that our clients often say they are grateful for all the information because their previous agency just sent them a report with definitions – they didn’t take the time to explain what was happening, why it looks the way it does and what to expect next.
THE TAKEAWAY… Make communication from your company clear. Also, give your clients the ability to easily communicate with you. Offer them options to text, call, email and message you. When you do, you allow them to communicate with you in the way they communicate most effectively.
- Give Them Outstanding Customer Service
How many times have you tried to call a company about a service/product you are interested in or tried to get information on a service/product you’d like to purchase and you just can’t talk to a real human?! I bet you have had this experience more than once. It’s incredibly frustrating and if you’re like most, you simply move on to a different company.
When you are working with your customers, take the time to give them your time and attention. Smile when you are on the phone (believe it or not, it actually makes you sound happy even if you aren’t). By taking the time to take care of your customers, answer their questions and help them with their concerns they will truly appreciate you and will continue to do business with you.
THE TAKEAWAY… Customer service isn’t just an action, it’s a culture. When you take care of your clients they will take care of you. It cannot be fake and it cannot be just sometimes – it has to be built into your business and must be a central value of your business.
- Ask Them About Them & Get To Know Them As Individuals
Having great customer service leads us directly into this tip. Nothing says “I’m all about the money” more than not getting to know your customers. So instead, get to know them, personally.
- Where do they live?
- What are their hobbies?
- Ask about how their family is doing.
- Find out what their favorite place is to go on vacation.
- You could even have fun with this and ask if they like sweet or salty, mountains or beach, etc.
THE TAKEAWAY… Getting to know your customers will make them feel amazing. Nothing says that you care more about them then getting to know them and continuing to get to know them over time. You may find that some of your best customers also become some of your best friends… the adage of we do business with people we like, it totally holds true!
- Stay In Touch Frequently
Many businesses try to use different tools to stay in touch and as a result these shortcuts just make customers feel like you didn’t put in much effort.
Little effort = you don’t really care that much.
Between the outstanding service from our production team and frequent communications by our marketing department – we are very proud to say that we have a 90% retention rate. Here are the ways we like to stay in touch:
- Send a funny video or photo for major holidays, wish them happy ______(fill in the blank with the holiday)
- Reach out when we have new free resources and offer it to clients before it becomes available to the public
- Follow our client’s on social platforms and give them a shout out
- Send a handwritten thank you note when they become new clients
THE TAKEAWAY… These are just a few of the ways we stay in touch with our clients but there are dozens of other ways to do that. The main thing is that you maintain contact with them frequently and your communications are not about selling them.
- Answer Their Questions In A Way They Can Understand
Tell me if this has happened to you…
You ask a question about a product you recently purchased and the answer you get back is full of jargon and terminology you just don’t understand? Boo! Totally has happened, right? Now think of a time when you asked a question and the answer was so unbelievably clear that you just got what you needed and then on with your day. You may have to think on this one… because it doesn’t happen as often as it truly should.
THE TAKEAWAY… Talk with your customers not AT your customers. Ask them if they understand or if they need more clarification. Make it a discussion and don’t use your industry jargon – if you do, make sure you translate what that actually means – as if you are trying to explain the concept to a 5 year old.
- Say Thank You! Whenever You Have The Opportunity
We recently took a poll across social platforms and from our newsletter list and found that 87% of people felt that they don’t say thank you enough. When we saw that we thought, whoa! So including it in this post is super important to us and why we’re sharing it with you.
Nevertheless, saying thank you is a small gesture that you can do to make your customers feel important. Here are some examples of how you can build a ‘thank you’ into your business.
- “Thanks for being an amazing customer, we love working with you!” – add this to your invoice, it’s so much more personal.
- “Thanks for calling _______(your business name), my name is _______ (your name), how can I assist you today?” – say this when answering the phone.
- “It was a pleasure speaking with you today, thank you for the opportunity to assist you.” – say this when you are ending a phone conversation.
- “Thanks for following us on _______ (name of social platform), looking forward to connecting with you soon!” – add this as a reply or send a private message to someone when they follow or like your social media pages.
- “Just a quick note to say thank you for the opportunity to work with you – we love that you’re our client!” – add this to the end of an email message or newsletter.
THE TAKEAWAY… There are many ways to say thank you to your customers. Every interaction you have with them whether face to face or online you have the opportunity to remind them that you are thankful for their business and appreciate the opportunity to work with them. Make your messages personal and you’ll reap great rewards.
- Tell Them What to Expect
Nothing is more frustrating than the feeling of being left in the dark. As cliche as it sounds (and yes, it’s even cliche to say it’s cliche) but outlining how things work, what will happen next, what you can expect during the process and what the outcome will be will help you build your client relationships.
We get it, you know the process front to back but customers… they just don’t. They are busy and even if you’ve gone over it with them verbally as well as in writing – they are busy. Which means that they aren’t going to absorb it until you repeat it over and over. So don’t stop telling them what to expect. Keep communicating how the process works from start to finish and then as each stage passes remind them what stage they went through and what the next stage will look like.
THE TAKEAWAY… Giving your customers clear information about what to expect and how things work will build solid client relationships. If you missed it above, check out tip #1 because it holds true for this tip too!
- Deliver On Your Promises
This one is a biggie! If you don’t deliver on what you promise, no amount of great customer service, advertising, frequent communications, etc. will help you. Your client relationships will suffer and before long you will find yourself faced with closing your doors.
We’ve seen it so many times, it’s scary.
So, here’s the deal. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Sometimes you’re tired, overwhelmed, overworked, underpaid… but you still have to do it. As was noted above, take care of your customers and they will take care of you.
THE TAKEAWAY… It’s pretty simple – when you say what you’ll do, do what you say and deliver.
- Own Your Mistakes
No one likes to make mistakes but they do happen. Oftentimes, mistakes are made not because of vengeful intentions but because of true oversight. When a mistake happens, first own that you did it and apologize, sincerely. It is rare in this day and age for this to happen so do it and stand out from your competition.
After you own and apologize, make it right.
All of this seems really obvious but if you think about it, how often do you find it actually happens? Not enough.
THE TAKEAWAY…Be the better person, so people you care – when you do not only will they respect you but they are going to tell everyone they know how you fixed it. When you can take a negative situation and turn it into a positive one, great things happen. Besides, let’s just be honest here – we teach our kids these lessons – let’s be a good example and practice what we preach.
- Ask Them What They Think – Their Feedback is PRICELESS!
One of the best things about building client relationships is being able to have a dialogue with them. Ask them about the service they received – ask about what challenges they are facing right now that they can’t solve – ask them what they want to improve or experience… simply put ASK THEM!
THE TAKEAWAY…Having an open, honest and transparent dialogue with your customers is a great way to know how you can solve a problem they have, give them an experience they crave or simply save them time or money.