49% of consumers have left a brand in the past year due to poor customer experience. 86% would leave a brand after as few as two poor experiences. The truth hurts, but stats don’t lie! If you don’t have happy clients, you will not have a profitable business in the long run.
Your company’s success is dependent on many aspects, some more obvious than others. For starters, you need a great product or service, you need a good marketing strategy, you need hard-working employees, and you need capital to make it all happen. With all these balls in the air, it’s completely understandable if customer experience doesn’t have your full attention. It is one of the most overlooked aspects of building a successful business. Get it wrong, and you’ve shot yourself in the foot big time. But if you get it right, it can be a key competitive differentiator.
In todays tech age, social media plays an ever-increasing role in the customer experience. Social media is the number one channel consumers use to engage with brands. As a result, customers can talk about you, tag you, create memes about you, and cancel you with the drop of a tweet, insta story, or online review. It’s more important than ever to really understand your client’s needs and to build a real (and profitable) relationship with them.
It’s imperative you are delivering what your client needs. It is also important to note that although a customer can tear down your brand in a moment, they can also help boost your brand. By leveraging your customers and their networks, you can attract even more clients and sales. 61% of consumers will pay at least 5% more if they know they’ll get a good customer experience and are 38% more likely to recommend your company. Help your clients to help you!
Here are 5 ways to build better relationships with your clients, and as a result build your brand and business.
When communicating with your client, speak to them as the expert you are in your specific industry, but speak to them in language that they can understand. It’s a fine balance, while using industry-specific words may sound more professional, too much jargon may just leave your client overwhelmed and confused. The number one strategy in building better relationships and customer experience is effective communicate. Ask lots of questions, prioritize listening over talking, gaining knowledge and insight from your client’s perspective through their responses and queries. Respond to queries as clearly and concisely as possible. Clients appreciate and feel taken care of throughout the project when you clearly explain, in words that they can understand, exactly what you are doing.
You should be easily contactable and keep your client regularly informed of what you are doing throughout the entirety of the project, not just at the beginning when making the sale. Don’t ghost as soon as the sale hits your bank account! Learn your client’s best form of communication. Some will prefer email while others will want telephone or face-to-face appointments. Building open lines of communication with your client can build stronger relationships as it makes your client feel more comfortable, open with their ideas and honest with you.
When possible, do your research on your client, their team, and past projects. So, when you have your initial conversations with your client, you can meet them with confidence and understanding which creates a great impression. It’s important to demonstrate when you genuinely care about their needs, and understand their business on both the micro and macro levels. A core focus when working with your client is to properly understand your client’s goals so you can deliver exactly what they require, not what you think they need. Offering ideas to your client further demonstrates you understand their goals and objectives and will build trust and mutual respect in your relationship.
It’s pretty simple and yet so often overlooked by businesses. Actually do what you say you’re going to do. One of the best ways to build strong client relationships is to build a reputation that you deliver exceptional results. Meeting your promises to your client has a huge impact on building relationships. And by having great communication throughout the project, delivering on deadlines, and getting results, it will drive the exceptional results your client wants and creates trust and a better working relationship. So, by setting reasonable expectations, you create the opportunity to impress your client with the results, positioning you and your brand as someone they would like to continue to work with, and refer to throughout their networks.
It is however imperative that when setting and delivering to client expectations, note your own business’s capabilities and limitations. Through the use of effective communication, you need to set clear boundaries with clients and realistic expectations from the beginning. This is key in establishing a mutual respect and preventing clients from having unrealistic expectations of you, and encourages them to respect your time and value.
Be open to feedback. A simple and highly effective way to improve your client relationships is by requesting feedback. For example, after the delivery of a project give them a call or email or short survey to ask for feedback on how it went, if you met their expectations, what they liked and what could have been done differently.
These little conversations, not only help to build communication and trust with your client and show you care, but also give you great insight into how you could improve as a business. The most important part of this feedback process is that you actually take their feedback onboard and implement changes into your business. This is extremely valuable information that will help you build better relationships and improve your systems and processes to create a higher quality service for your clients on future projects.
Be genuine, and build genuine relationships by creating small talk with clients and connecting on a more personal levels. This builds a genuine connection and makes the relationship more than just a transactional one. Be yourself and don’t just be about business. People catch on when you’re not being yourself and this can erode relationships and make your client feel uncomfortable. You were hired by your client because they believed you were right for the project, so embrace that. People like connection, it makes us feel valued, seen and heard. For example, acknowledging accomplishments or promotions, offering recommendations on places to visit for an upcoming trip, remembering and asking about how an event or restaurant was or sending a card when they have a baby all play a huge role in building strong client relationships for the long term and can make your business stand out.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of how to build better relationships with your clients and following these tips won’t necessarily guarantee your clients will stay with you for the long run. But what’s important to recognise is that it’s not just about keeping this specific client. It’s about building a great reputation and offering a superior client experience in your industry that encourages businesses to return for future projects, talk about you, post about you positively, and leave reviews.
If you really want to ensure you have a competitive edge over your competitors, it may be worthwhile talking to a professional digital marketing agency like Evolution. We can take all the branding and marketing off your plate, so you can solely focus on building authentic relationships with your clients. Give us a call to talk about evolving your business on 03 5222 3328 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a meeting to discuss your next move.
Inspired by: themuse.com / Stats from: emplifi.io / Image credits: Unsplash
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