Any form of entrepreneurial success relies heavily on client satisfaction. Your business relationship with your clients can be compared to the blood pumping through your veins, which keeps the heart of your business pumping. Without your clients, your business can’t function or grow.
As your business grows, the bigger your clients become, and it’s so often the case that business owners start taking the little guys for granted. It’s important to remember that those little guys are the clients that supported you and your business ambitions before anyone else did. Therefore, you should never forget to treat them with the respect they deserve.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do my clients feel appreciated and valued?
- Are my clients’ individual/unique business needs met?
- Are my clients able to approach me directly with any concerns?
- Am I communicating and reaching out to my clients enough?
- Do my clients trust me?
You should be able to answer each of these questions without any hesitation. If you felt a slight hesitation at any one of them, then maybe it’s time for some client relationship introspection?
Here are some DO’s and DON’Ts of client relations
DO – Show appreciation
No matter how big or small a project, you should always be thankful for work. Let your client know that you are thankful for the project and that you are looking forward to many more still to come.
DON’T – Avoid difficult clients
It’s never nice to receive a complaint or criticism about your work. However, it should never be a reason to give up or take offence. We all deal with challenging clients at times. The trick is to kill the problem with kindness… try to see that client as a challenge and an opportunity to put your skills to the ultimate test. Can you imagine that feeling of accomplishment you’ll experience on the day you please that client?
DO – Get your employees on track
No one takes your business as seriously as you! Therefore, it’s important to keep a close eye on the way your employees are treating your clients, especially if they’re new. It’s important to trust your employees, and to allow them to learn from their mistakes, but if it impacts your client then it’s time to intervene. Perhaps you could consider a training session or workshop on how to treat clients.
DON’T – Create unrealistic expectations
Unrealistic expectations always end in disappointment. Always be open and honest with a client, even if you won’t be able to deliver by a pre-arranged deadline. The client will respect you for being forthcoming.
DO – Care and communicate
Strive at all times to find the balance between personal and professional. Clients want to feel like their personal business needs are top priority. One way of showing this is through proper communication. Make sure that your client is always in the loop in terms of things happening in your business, and vice versa. Show your client that you care by acknowledging and celebrating important events, like birthdays and accomplishments. A little care goes a long way.
DON’T – Take a client for granted
Your clients are your bread and butter, and if you’re really good, your fillet steak too! No matter what, be sure to reply diligently and swiftly to a client’s requests. If you can’t provide them with an answer immediately, then let them know that you are brainstorming some ideas for them. Inform your client of your office hours and leave periods, so that they can arrange their own schedules accordingly. Never leave a client in the dark!
It’s important to understand your client’s business needs even when you don’t always understand your client. At the end of the day, we are all human. We all make mistakes, but we can all learn from them.
Your clients are the people who help you see beyond your own ideas. They challenge you to walk in someone else’s shoes, and in so doing, they teach you to expand your own horizons. Be grateful for that, because as they say… life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
A clapping client is a happy client!