There are many marketing and PR strategies that can improve your brand reputation overall, given months of time to develop. But how can you improve your reputation with a single client?
Improving your reputation with an individual client can have a variety of positive effects. For starters, your client will be more likely to stick with your business—rather than working with a competitor or canceling their services. You can also establish a healthier, more productive working relationship with better communication and mutual respect. You’ll also increase your chances of earning referrals; if your client thinks the world of you and is thrilled with the relationship you have, they’ll be more than happy to refer you to other individuals and businesses.
Fortunately, improving your reputation with a client is easier than you might think.
Provide your best quality work
This should be obvious, but make sure you’re providing your best quality work at all times. If you’re providing physical, tangible goods, run a thorough inspection to ensure your client is getting exactly what they paid for. If you’re providing an intangible service, go above and beyond the call of duty to give them an exceptional performance. No amount of attention to these other areas can make up for shoddy or unreliable work, so this needs to be your highest priority.
Show your gratitude
If you want to strengthen your bonds further, go out of your way to express your gratitude whenever possible. Send a physical thank-you card in the mail whenever your client makes a big purchase or re-ups their contract with you. Send a gift basket around the holidays. Be courteous and grateful whenever you have conversations on the phone.
Under-promise and over-deliver
This is commonly given advice, and for good reason: it works. Under-promising means promising your client less than you think you’ll be able to accomplish, while over-delivering means performing better than your promise.
The effects of this are twofold. First, you’ll give your client the impression that you’re constantly exceeding expectations; you’ll build a reputation that you’re always going above and beyond to provide better products and services. Second, you’ll create a kind of insurance policy against the possibility of failing to meet expectations. If you do this right, your client will never be disappointed by a broken promise.
Err on the side of over-communication
Communication is key when building your reputation with a client, so err on the side of over-communicating. Keep your client updated as frequently as possible, reaching out to them with updates and new information as it becomes available to you. Schedule a regular meeting, like a once-a-week phone call, and keep it consistently.
Own up to mistakes
This is a huge point that many client relationship managers miss: it’s vital to own up to your mistakes. If you miss a deadline, if there’s a quality issue with your work, or if you simply screw something up, own up to it. Admitting fault and making up for the error is far better than trying to cover up your mistake or make excuses for it. Transparency is key here.
Attend teambuilding events together
You may host teambuilding events for your employees, but have you ever considered hosting a teambuilding event for a client? These events are opportunities to get to know each other better, learn how to communicate more effectively, and personally bond. They work best if you’re working with an individual point person or a small team of people, but could hypothetically be used to enhance any professional business relationship.
These are just some ideas for events you could try together:
- Go for a hike. Head out to the wilderness and hike a difficult trail. The physical exercise is great for relieving stress, and you can enjoy the scenery as you make conversation.
- Head to the firing range.Try out a selection of different firearms at your local firing range together. Firing a weapon is a cathartic experience, and gradually improving your aim can feel extremely rewarding.
- Attend an escape room.Work together to “escape” a locked room by solving puzzles and hunting for clues. Every escape room is a unique experience.
Ask for feedback
Finally, ask for feedback from your client. What do they appreciate about your relationship? What do they wish was better? You can use this information to improve your approach, and give them more of what they’re looking for. You can also use this to improve your relationship with other clients.
If you can follow these strategies consistently, and adjust your approach to each individual client in your portfolio, you’ll be able to markedly improve your brand’s reputation. From there, you’ll see higher rates of customer retention and loyalty, and a much higher chance of getting referrals.