Client Relationship Management (CRM) is the science of managing a firm’s interactions with current and future clients. As the client’s point of contact, your job is to act as salesperson, marketing professional, customer service executive and technical support all rolled into one. Not an easy job, to say the least. But you can make your job easier by adopting the following client satisfaction principles. Put them into play now, and you’ll have all of your clients eating out of the palm of your hand.
See Also: How to Build the Ultimate Client Mix
1. Be Professional and Fun
It is important to show your clients very early on just how professional you can be. Dress the part, speak clearly, and always come through when you say you will (or even sooner). But don’t be so stuffy that you become like a robot. It’s also important to showcase your individuality; and if you can make your clients smile or laugh while you’re doing it, that’s always a plus.
Remember, all of us are in business to make money, but we’re also people. So don’t be afraid to show off your people skills. Be lighthearted when you can be and have a sense of humor. You’ll become more memorable to those you work with, and your competitors will soon be a long lost memory in the minds of your clients.
2. Be Empathetic
All clients – regardless of background or profession – have one thing in common: They want you to ‘get them’. Therefore, you would do well to ask your clients what it is that’s weighing most on their minds. What problems keep them up at night that you might be able to help them with? Even if you can’t help, lend a sympathetic ear and try to understand their plight by putting yourself in their shoes.
3. Offer to Collaborate
Client dealings can often be one-sided. “Here’s how I can help,” is usually how the communication language goes. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
You will form a better relationship with your client if you can get a back and forth going. Ask for the client’s input and collaborate as often as possible. If the client hasn’t already taken the initiative, offer to get together on a platform like Basecamp. That way you can both be on the same page as you provide your unique ideas on any given project. Not only can this improve the quality of projects, but the clients you bring into the fold will feel more comfortable working with you, and everyone wins.
4. Be Accessible
Technology has made communicating with people all over the globe an instant affair. Long gone are the days of the 24-hour turnaround on emails and phone calls. To consistently impress the clients you work with, strive for a swift response rate to all client inquiries. Even if you can’t answer a question right away, get back to the person and let them know you’re working on it. This is a powerful technique that will keep you on their minds and away from the competition.
5. Connect on a Personal Level
You will become more memorable to a client if you can form a personal connection. Try going above and beyond with your customer service by acknowledging when your clients share personal info.
If Mr. Fuller mentions that he’s about to take a family vacation, ask where he’s going. A vacation is something he’ll be excited about, so he’ll probably have no problem elaborating. Log these details away and ask about them the next time you communicate. This will form a deeper bond with the client, and you’ll instantly put yourself miles ahead of any competitors who may be vying for that same client’s business.
6. Avoid the Word “No”
When working with clients, the word ‘No’ should be stricken from your vocabulary. Let’s say a client of yours asks for help, but your firm doesn’t offer that particular product or service. Don’t just end the discussion by saying, “I can’t help you.” Instead, offer to help in any way possible.
You may be able to offer advice, or perhaps you know a person or firm who can provide the help the client needs. Going above and beyond, even when it might not mean any revenue coming in, is a great way to create a raving fan for life.
7. The ‘Wow’ Factor
To impress your clients, you might find yourself promising the world. How could you ever hope to deliver on that? In cases like these, the adage ‘under promise and over deliver’ is a much better way to make an impression.
Let your clients think that you’re qualified, but don’t go much further than that. Let your work speak for itself. If you can get your clients to utter ‘wow’ at every point of contact, you’ll know you’ve done your job well. Hospitality consultant Jon Taffer, of the hit TV show Bar Rescue, calls this concept Reaction Management. Get a reaction out of the people you work with and for, and they’ll always remember you.
8. Be an Organized Machine
When working with multiple clients, you might find yourself juggling a multitude of projects and deadlines. If you’re not organized, your clients are going to notice, and it’s not going to bode well for your future relationship.
The lesson is to use all the tools and resources at your disposal to keep your projects systemized and orderly so that anything you might need is at your fingertips at a moment’s notice.
To-do lists, organizational platforms, and even sticky notes tacked to your monitor are your friend. If you can produce items in a flash the moment your client’s ask for them, they’ll be amazed. They’ll wonder how you do it, and they’ll think you’re some kind of machine. Talk about making a good impression.
9. Make Your Clients Feel Special
You may have dozens of clients on your roster, but you don’t have to act like it. Make each person you work with feel special. Focus on one-on-one attention, never rush and be sure to say, “Thank you for your business” at every turn. You can also send thank you cards (a handwritten note works wonders). Another way to show your appreciation is to provide a discount special.
These little tokens will make you stand out, and that’s how great client relationships are made.
10. Learn From Your Mistakes and Strive To Do Better
Working with multiple clients, it’s bound to happen: You’re going to drop the ball sooner or later. After all, nobody’s perfect. The important thing is not to beat yourself up about it. You can only learn from your blunders and try to surpass expectations next time.
For example, let’s say that a project you turned in has multiple errors. Instead of making excuses (“That’s not like me.”), own your failures and next time employ an editor who can catch those mistakes you might otherwise miss. Whether it’s a missed appointment, an account that went belly-up or a client that calls you on a mistake you just made, just smile and tell yourself you’ll do better in the future. Think of your errors as lessons. That’s how the experts get better.
The bottom line is that clients want to feel important. They want to appear valued by you. And in putting these principles to work – by paying attention to your clients’ needs, by focusing on them one-on-one, and by never saying no when a yes will suffice - your clients will see you and your company as a more valuable asset. When that happens, you’ll never find yourself hurting for business. You’ll have plenty of clients to work with, and those clients will always come away from their interactions with you with smiles on their faces.
Do you think client relationship management is an important aspect of managing clients, or not? Let us know in the comments section below.