No matter what type of business you're in, building client relationships is a critical component of success. Even the best offerings of goods or services can only take you so far without a strong client base to support them. So how do companies transition new customers to engaged and loyal clients?
Communication is Key.
Today people are increasingly looking for the best deal for their goods and services. The internet has made it easy to find the best price, and while that is sometimes good enough, there are many more times when the price isn't the key decision driver. This is true for any type of service field. It's easy to slash a price, but at what cost? When you are working with clients, whether it's a brand new one or someone with whom you've worked for a long time, your communication can make or break a lasting relationship. Be clear and open with your clients. They'll appreciate having a real person on the other end of the transaction for questions, both immediate and longer term, which also will give them peace of mind.
Don't Forget To Listen.
When you're selling something, whether it's a good or a service, it's natural to want to do a lot of talking during the transaction. After all, you're the subject matter expert and the one with the most at stake. But if you do all the talking, you're likely to miss some important things. What does the client really need? Is there anything additional to the conversation at hand with which you can help? Does the client have any contacts they would refer to you? Make sure to ask open ended questions that will likely end up both opening more doors for your business while also deepening the relationship with your client.
Be An Open Door.
While it's impossible to be available to clients 24/7, it is possible to have very clear and reliable times when you're always accessible. By setting up client days or hours, it makes it much easier for clients to get a hold of you when they need something. Another good option is to have a call-back window, say of 12 hours, so clients are sure they will have a chance to get a quick question answered.
The quickest way to ruin any relationship is by breaking trust. This absolutely applies to the business world. By missing a deadline or not following up on a request, you're sending a clear message that the client's business is not that important to you, which will send them shopping for a new provider. Find an organizational method that will ensure you never forget a task that may cost you business and ruin your chances of building client relationships.
It's a simple but crucial component of building client relationships: be yourself. People want to be around genuine, honest people, so be that way in all your business dealings. If something doesn't sounds right, it's probably not. Hiding the truth or holding back information just doesn't cut it in the business world. When you're straightforward with your clients, they will appreciate it and pay it back in continued business and positive referrals.