The success of all B2B companies (no matter the size) is dependent largely upon both strong client relationship skills and client relationships - and that’s true for us at Synectics Media. All of our clients find that we strive to become an extension of their company by forming an open and honest relationship that helps to hit their bottom line goals.
In fact, providing exceptional client and customer service is one of our core values, as we always aim to become that trusted partner and advisor. Due to our strong client relationships and high level of customer service, we’ve been able to differentiate ourselves from the competition.
How do we nurture our client relationships? It’s more than just providing high value on a consistent and ongoing basis. Below we’re highlighting some of our secrets to develop strong client relationship skills and how to foster those much needed quality long-term client relationships.
Secret #1: Over-Communicate (When Necessary) & Eliminate Surprises
Clients rely on you to keep them informed every step of the way, especially if developments in a project will cause delay of a deliverable. While we aren’t recommending you email or call your clients every day (unless the situation calls for it), we do suggest that you make regular communications a top priority. Whether it’s weekly email status updates or bi-weekly phone calls, these communications should include status on various projects along with any bumps in the road that are encountered, and how they are being handled.
Secret #2: Be a Useful Resource
The more value you can offer your clients, the more your clients will depend on you and your guidance. Whether it’s news relevant to their industry, a particular business or a personal restaurant recommendation, don’t hesitate to share information that you think your clients will find beneficial.
Secret #3: Honesty is the Best Policy
No long-term relationship will last if both parties aren’t open, upfront, and honest. In addition to providing a product or service that your client needs, your other responsibility should revolve around being honest at all times. Your clients are smart and they will know when you tell a “little white lie”.
While we know that being honest might not always mean your clients will enjoy the news you’re giving, it will help to strengthen your client relationship skills and will ultimately cultivate a long-term relationship filled with integrity.
Secret #4: Always Meet (or Even Exceed) Deadlines
Be a company of your word. When you say that a product or service will be delivered by X date, make sure that it’s delivered by that date. Committing to this deadline will show your clients that you’re reliable, while also helping to alleviate any worry that they may have. This freedom from worry will build trust and credibility, which will help to foster that long-term relationship you’re both looking for.
Whenever possible, take this one step further by exceeding those deadlines. Just because you promise a deadline doesn't mean you have to wait until that day. Your client will be pleasantly surprised when you deliver earlier than expected.
Secret #5: Think of Your Clients as More Than Just “Clients”
Of course we know that it can be hard to separate yourself from your business mind; however, allowing yourself to view your client as a person and even as a friend will only deepen the bond and relationship between the two of you.
How do you do this? For me, I start by simply asking how their weekend was. From there, I often learn details about their life outside of work. This information helps me recommend certain restaurants, concerts, or weekend activities that I think they might enjoy. Pretty soon, you’ll start every phone conversation on a personal note.
Secret #6: Go the Extra Mile
Whether it’s staying late to make sure your client has needed supplies for one of their biggest events of the year or offering them a customized solution that you wouldn’t normally do, going above and beyond what is normally expected will do wonders for your client relationships. Why? Clients will remember the times that you came through for them, which could lead to increased business from them or a great referral to their network.
It’s also important to treat every client like they are your most important. No matter how big or small they may be, provide all of your clients with your best service. They will not only be happy but they’ll remain a loyal customer for many years to come.
Secret #7: Respond Promptly
We’ve all been there. We receive an email from a client asking a question only to find out that we won’t know the answer for several hours or even days. We recommend acknowledging the receipt of the email as quickly as possible even if you don’t have the answer. Why? This quick response will give them comfort while also communicating that you’re working on finding them their answer.
Secret #8: Be Yourself
We all have a goofy, sarcastic, or silly side, and it’s good to let that show in your relationships with your clients. While it’s important to remain professional at all times, allowing your true self to shine will help your clients drop down their guard and feel comfortable going to you for any and all problems.
Whether we care to admit to it or not, strong client relationship skills and long-term client relationships are key to B2B business success. What are some other ways that you’ve future-proofed your client relationships? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.