5 best practices for building relationships with clients

Strong project management skills will go a long way toward building solid client relationships.

By Emma Miller

“There is only one boss-the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else,” Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, pointed out. Put simply, to retain your clients, you need to invest a great deal of effort in building and nurturing a strong relationship with them. Only by understanding their needs will you be able to deliver a customized experience, increase the possibility of getting referrals and, most importantly, grow your customer base.

Here are several effective strategies that might help you do so.

– Meet deadlines

To earn your clients’ trust and respect, you need to manage your time proactively and get your work done on time. Analyze your projects down to the smallest details by documenting your objectives, mapping available resources, identifying risks, assigning roles to the teams and breaking down complex activities into simpler tasks. By knowing what their responsibilities are, your team members will do the job quickly and more responsibly.

Additionally, you can resort to the automation of your project management efforts. For example, productivity platforms such as Basecamp and Asana will help you monitor your projects and teams effectively, instant messaging tools like Skype for Business and Hangouts will improve real-time communication with both your clients and employees, while cloud-based storage platforms like Dropbox and OneDrive will allow the safe transmission of sensitive data.

– Communicate with clients regularly

Honest and continuous communication is the bedrock of building a lasting customer relationship. In today’s hyper-connected world, even small businesses can afford the implementation of multi-channel communication platforms and, in this way, keep in touch with their customers 24/7. This allows you to provide customers with relevant company updates, schedule regular check-ins, deliver company news, share regular updates on projects and offer social proof on social networks.

Another important factor you need to have in mind is client analysis and reporting. Nothing would make your clients happier than presenting them with the charts and statistics showing that their marketing campaign, for example, is performing well. However, collecting all this data, organizing it, creating charts and writing detailed reports each month for every client might be a daunting task. According to some recent researches, by automating your SEO reports, you will manage to get rid of hours of manual work, cut your costs and focus on other important aspects of your client collaboration.

– Manage your projects proactively

Companies outsource their projects usually if they lack in-house expertise. Of course, this puts you in a position to take the lead and guide them through every stage of the project. To do so successfully, you first need to deliver a well-written project scope. Put simply, this is the documentation that supports every decision you make. Once you develop it, sit down with the client and review it line by line. This way, you will help your client understand your approach to the project and keep them engaged. To present your objectives adequately, you need to develop a step-by-step strategy.

Begin with a brief project history, explain what has been done so far and point out the strategies you’ve been using. Then, present your deliverable precisely. Highlight the brainstorming process that led your team to a particular decision and explain what actions you’re planning to take to improve the project in the future. Once you run through the entire presentation, you should wrap it up with a few guiding questions that will help your client contextualize everything they learned. Give your client some time to consume all this before they start asking questions. Additionally, before reaching certain milestones, you should always contact your clients and consult them about your next moves.

– Request feedback

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve,” Bill Gates once said. This statement is the holy grail for every small business owner trying to nurture strong relationships with their clients. To meet their needs, you need to listen to them actively.

There is a plethora of ways to ask your customers for feedback. To make the most of this data, you should use different strategies for collecting feedback. Apart from scheduling face-to-face meetings, which is certainly one of the most effective tactics, you should also make use of usability tests, online customer surveys, live chat support, and feedback forms on a website. You should also track your clients’ interaction with your social media and measure their activity on your website. Focus on their experiences with your company, tell them to recall specific problems they came across while working with you, and ask them to tell what they would change in the future. Use their criticism smart to keep your clients loyal.

– Encourage partnerships

One of the most powerful ways to move your collaboration with an important client to the next level is to go into a mutually beneficial partnership with them. Namely, this partnership would provide your clients with the services tailored to their needs, while you will gain invaluable experiences, build highly specialized teams, cater to wider audiences and boost ROI.  However, to do that, you need to know their business almost as well as you know yours. You need to be aware of the changes and trends in their industry and know their strengths and weaknesses.

Conclusions

As you can conclude from the previous examples, acquiring new clients is important, but retaining the current ones is critical for your business’ success. With the help of these practices, you will manage to solidify your client communication and build a strong relationship that might help you set your business apart from its competitors.

What tactics do you use to build your client relationships?

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Emma Miller is a marketer and a writer from Sydney. Her focus are digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at and a mother of two. Twitter.


 

 

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