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The do’s and don’ts of managing client relationships
Understanding the do’s and don’ts of managing client relationships is one of the most important parts of owning a business. In today’s modern world, customer service is often the main point of difference between businesses in the same sector.
Think about it – if there are five coffee shops on your street, you’ll most likely go to the one that has the best coffee AND the friendliest staff.
There are some easy to remember do’s and don’ts for managing your client relationships
– DO –
Take an interest in your client’s industry and their personal lives
That doesn’t mean you need to stalk them on Facebook and learn their second aunt’s favourite tv soap! You should, however, take the time to learn a few basic things about them – are they married? Do they have children? What are their passions outside of work? Similarly, what industry do they work in? Do you know the language, their major competitors, the kind of challenges they face? Showing an interest in the things that are important to them, and more importantly, remembering them, shows the client that you are interested in them as a person and not just a source of money
– DON’T –
Pretend to know more than you do
You want your clients to be confident in you, your knowledge and your ability to answer their questions. Nothing will undermine this confidence quicker than giving them the wrong information. There’s nothing wrong with advising a client that you don’t know the answer to that question off the top of your head but you can look into it and get back to them. While this may feel awkward or embarrassing, the client will appreciate your honesty and know that you are putting time into giving them a thoughtful, well-measured response.
– DO –
Be respectful of your client’s time
We live in a fast-paced world and everyone’s time is precious. If you say you will call them at a certain time, call them at that time. If you agree to meet with your client at 11 am, be ready for your meeting at 10:50 am. If you have booked a meeting for 30min, don’t go over that time unless absolutely necessary. Being punctual and mindful of your client’s time not only shows professionalism, it also shows that you respect them and the fact that they have taken time out of their busy schedule to meet with you.
– DON’T –
Similar to above, showing your clients that you respect their time includes not missing deadlines you’ve set with the client. If your client is pushing a deadline that you know you cannot meet, be upfront and explain to them that you can’t guarantee that and work with them for a new time that works for both of you. If you have statutory deadlines in your industry, it is imperative that you meet these deadlines on your client’s behalf. Don’t forget, if you need to change deadlines, make sure you contact your client to discuss as soon as possible and, as always, put it in writing!
– DO –
Ask yourself “How am I adding value to my client?”
This is an important question to ask yourself often. Are you adding value? Are you helping your client succeed in building their business? You can provide additional value to your clients in a number of ways.
If you are in retail, for example, being honest and forthright about the pros and cons of their product. Some will even direct you to a product that isn’t available in their store. While this may seem like a bad business move on their immediate profits, it is actually a safe long term move that can secure future business from the customer.
Check out another recent blog in this category.
Learn about how you can improve your client relationships