There are few things that are more important to a business than its relationship with clients. To ensure that this is top-class, you’ll need to regularly review your approach.
Are you ensuring that customers develop a positive image of your brand? Do you have access to PR expertise? Are you effectively nurturing that image through your customer contact?
The key to answering ‘yes’ to each of these questions is customer happiness. But where is the best place to start? This article will show how a few simple steps can help you boost your business reputation and increase the value of your business.
Positivity is key
Clients develop a mental picture of every business they deal with. It’s our role to nurture a positive image at every stage. This runs through every aspect of our promotions, media management, and coverage, as well as our customer contacts. E-Commerce Website Development, for example, can play a crucial role in shaping a client’s perception of your brand, as it directly affects their online experience.
This ensures that clients can easily find contact information online, and will help create a seamless and user-friendly experience for them.
Image sourced from truelist.co
Positive messages are essential. How you are represented and how you interact with customers today will have an impact on how they view you in the future.
The way that we manage all customer contact is vital. If we have relationships with journalists and others in the media, we’ll have a better chance of influencing positive messages. And when we interact directly with customers we need to get the tone and message right.
If it’s personal contact, think about your body language and delivery. Smile, listen, and be enthusiastic about your products and services. Importantly, connect your product to their needs.
Remember that customers will often have an image of your business before they have any contact with you. This comes from the way that your organization is portrayed in the media. It’s vital, therefore, that you get on top of your media relations.
Offer the best support
Client relationships don’t end once they receive your product or service. If you want to secure repeat work or customer recommendations, you need to think long-term. This means making sure that you’re offering great support. Effective client management involves anticipating their needs, addressing concerns, and providing solutions that make their experience with your business as smooth as possible.
If you need convincing, look at the stats. An estimated 89 percent of customers will become repeat customers after a positive customer service experience. When it comes to building client relations, you need to be ready to answer any queries they may have.
But what are the ingredients of strong support? Some are listed below:
- Speed – Put yourself in your client’s shoes. They expect a quick response. Get back to your customers as soon as possible. If you can’t respond quickly, let clients know. An automated email or answer message can help keep people in the loop.
- Ease – Make contact easy for the client. The process should be smooth and the messages clear. Your tech needs to be well tested – if a call keeps dropping customers are going to become frustrated. Invest in tools that allow easy communication.
- Convenience – Today’s clients expect convenience and the ability to contact using multiple methods, such as instant messaging and email.
Build a rapport
To build client relations, you should always build rapport. Introducing a more human element can really help to cement customer relations.
By doing so, potential clients will be more likely to ask questions and want to learn more about your product. They will also feel more comfortable expressing any concerns that they have. By spotting issues early, you can avoid problems further down the line.
To build rapport, make an effort to get to know your customers. Try to build a more relaxed and casual environment. For example, refer to your clients by their first names. Instead of simply sticking to business, ask about their interests and their family. It’s always best to use meeting tools that allow face-to-face communication rather than simply using audio.
Contracts are an important part of your relationship with a client. They should lay out your responsibilities and clearly define roles. You’ll want to get contracts out of the way to avoid boring clients. Once dealt with, you can get straight on to business.
But don’t get too carried away. A client might sign a contract without actually knowing what’s in it. At a later date, they might find themselves unhappy with an aspect of your service. Because they didn’t properly read the contract, they weren’t able to voice their concerns earlier on.
Make sure that clients properly understand a contract before proceeding. Look at the contract together and explain areas of ‘legalese’ that they might not understand. Distance shouldn’t be an issue, as using office phone systems for small businesses can allow you to share your screen with remote clients.
Always ask for feedback
If you want to give yourself the best chance of impressing clients, you need to employ a strong risk management approach. Expert input can help with this. But however well you manage risk, you’ll want to know how your client felt about the experience.
Businesses that impress clients are those that adapt to feedback. Receiving negative responses is frustrating. But it’s better to get negative feedback early on, rather than deliver an unsatisfactory result to a customer. Seek feedback regularly and alter your approach accordingly.
It’s also important to request feedback at the end of a project. What did the client like and what could have been better? You can’t change the result, but responses will help with future projects.
You can make use of email templates in Gmail to structure your feedback form. This means you don’t have to write a new email each time.
If your project has been a particular success, why not use your Public Relations contacts to get you some free publicity?
A little thanks can go a long way. A good place to start is to include a simple ‘thank you’ note on an invoice. If it’s an important client, you may also want to thank the client in person.
Customer relationships are vital
Every business professional will tell you that customer relations can make or break your reputation. But it’s easy to lose sight of this simple truth. You might be eager to build better products and imagine new services for your clients. Or you might not be using Public Relations expertise to get the most out of your media exposure.
If you have dropped your focus on customer relations, these elements won’t matter. Clients won’t be investing in your services or buying your products.
Luckily, as we’ve explored in this article, boosting customer relations isn’t difficult. Think about the steps listed in this document. How many are you putting into practice? By re-evaluating your approach you’ll be on the road to a stronger business reputation.