Do a Great Job
The best way to develop and keep good client relationships is simply to do your job. First and foremost, your clients are paying you to provide a service. To do this, you must listen to what they need, understand their goals and wants and then deliver what you say you're going to. Make sure you and your team deliver everything on time and communicate quickly and effectively with your client so no one is left wondering what the end result is going to be.
Go Above and Beyond
While hitting your deadlines and providing a good service is necessary, it's not enough. Clients expect this of any service they're paying for, so you need to find ways to stand out above the rest. The better you understand your clients' industry, business and goals, the more value you can provide them. Conduct some background research on your clients and sign up for relevant RSS feeds to keep up on their industry. When you come across a great article, study or piece of information that your client may find interesting, email it to them or make a note to bring it up during your next meeting.
Another way to provide excellent customer service is to be able to make knowledgeable recommendations to your clients. If they mention that they're bogged down by emails, suggest an email automation software. Or if they tell you they're unhappy with one of their other vendors, use it as an opportunity to make an upsell or recommend a solution your team uses. These small gestures let your client know you're paying attention and have their best interests in mind.
Be a Real Person
To develop a genuine relationship with your clients, you need to act like a real person. No one wants to be sold to all the time or feel pressured to get straight down to business. Take an interest in your clients and work toward creating a friendship.
Whether you interact over email, on the phone or in person, you can take steps to let them know you are interested in more than your bottom line. Ask about their weekend or if they have any vacations coming up. Actually listen to what they're saying and respond with your own plans or tell them about a time you had a similar experience. If you feel comfortable, ask about their family and make a note about what sport their kids play or their spouse's favorite restaurant.
Not only does this give you an opportunity to have genuine conversations about the people and things they love, but it also enables you to send personalized gifts and thank yous during the holidays or for work anniversaries. For instance, if you know your client suffered a loss, you can send a bouquet of flowers, or you can send them tickets to see their favorite sports team play or a bottle of their favorite wine for Christmas.
There are so many ways to show your clients that they are important to you. Spend the time to develop and maintain a relationship and watch your bottom line grow as a result.
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