22 May Your Clients Are Your Bread And Butter
Whether you’re a people person or not, healthy client relationships are an integral part of any thriving business. They’re your bread and butter and how you manage the relationship can have a direct impact on your bottom line. Here are some of the things we’ve learnt along the way about making your client relationships a success:
1. Make them look good
Everyone wants to look like they’re on top of their game. View your job as a support role where your priority is to make your client shine. Send them glowing reports they can present to their own bosses, or ideas on strategy and marketing that they can present internally. By making them look good, you make yourself a vital part of their success.
2. Be proactive
Haven’t received content ideas that you’ve asked for? Or maybe you’re still waiting for approval on that one piece? Follow up. Make suggestions. Think of a way around a problem yourself, without waiting for the client to do it.
3. Stick to deadlines
I’m always amazed how chuffed clients are when we deliver work to deadlines, or a bit before – because so many people are shoddy about this. Having said this, life doesn’t always go according to plan, so if you find (in exceptional circumstances) that work is going to take longer to complete, inform your client well beforehand. If you’re usually good at getting work to them on time, chances are they’ll be more than fine with it.
4. Answer emails and messages promptly
We have a 2-3 hour rule (within office hours) of answering emails, and you’ll be amazed at what a difference this makes. Even if we’re simply replying to the initial email request and telling the client we’ll send a costing/piece of work by a certain time, they feel reassured that we’ve read the email and are on the case. The same applies to phone calls – if we miss one, we’ll call them back that same day to continue the discussion.
5. Give them value for money
This doesn’t mean working for free. It means giving the client a valuable return on their investment. We hear of so many clients who pay retainers and then receive absolutely NO WORK for long periods or work of a dubious quality. It’s a transaction: you’re getting paid and you’re providing them a service in return, so make it worth their while.
6. Be thoughtful
Is your client getting married? Have they just had a baby? A small, carefully thought out gift, card or email can go a long way in strengthening your relationship.
7. Say thank you
At the end of the year we send our regular clients small gifts and a card, thanking them for their support during the year. It’s our way of saying that we take nothing for granted and that the relationship means something to us.
No matter how innovative your offering is, business is about relationships more than anything else. Make it a priority to have strong client relationships, and you’ll go a long way to ensuring you have a fold of loyal clients that in turn gives your business stability and, most importantly, a great reputation.