Some companies interact with their customers for a brief time exclusively during the business transaction, while others maintain close relationships with their clients for years. For businesses that create client relationships, positive, long-term connections are essential. Building client relationships should be a focus for client-centered companies to ensure financial success.
In this article, we explain why strong client relationships are important, describe how to build and maintain relationships and provide tips for developing great client relationships.
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Why are strong client relationships important?
Businesses that develop great, long-term relationships with their clients are more likely to receive repeat business from those clients. Satisfied customers might recommend your company, product, or service to a colleague, leading to new business. With positive, enduring client relationships, companies can achieve overall business success and create larger projects for their customers’ benefit.
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How to build and maintain good client relationships
To create a long-lasting client relationship, you must provide excellent service during your first transaction with the customer. Use these steps to establish and maintain good relationships with your clients:
Establish open, consistent lines of communication with your client. Offer them multiple ways to get in touch with you, such as a cell phone number, office phone number, and email address. Establish regular communication to assess the project and answer any questions. Be available to speak with your clients should they need you to show you care about them.
2. Stay positive
Keep a positive attitude at all times with your client. If your project experiences challenges or delays remain positive and solution-driven to give clients confidence in your work. A positive persona should ease any worries your client has and motivate them to stay positive about the project themselves.
3. Share knowledge
Your client may not know or understand the details involved in your company’s work initially. Explain clearly how communication between your company and the client works, describe how the product or service functions and provide a clear timeline for the project with regular updates. Create tutorials and training sessions for your product or service if you think your customers could benefit from them. Keeping your clients informed allows them to feel comfortable throughout the process.
4. Be open-minded
Your client may have requests or suggestions for the project timeline or product design. Do what you can to incorporate your client’s needs and wants into the process. Accommodate their needs to the best of your ability, and remain open-minded when fielding their suggestions and wishes.
5. Remain human
You might interact exclusively with your client over email or through phone calls. Make an effort to build a personal rapport with your client so they see you as a person and advocate rather than just an email address. Creating a personal connection is key to establishing a strong client relationship.
6. Learn their needs
When you first begin onboarding your client, take the time to learn about their business needs and operations. The better you understand how their company functions, the better positioned you’ll be to create the ideal sales, project, and transactional experience for them.
7. Provide expertise
You are the expert on your company, its products, and its services. Provide confident, clear, and consistent messaging to your client regarding the processes and products involved in the project. Use your knowledge to create a smooth and enjoyable experience for your client.
8. Exceed expectations
When possible, exceed your client’s expectations for service, timeline, and delivery. Provide realistic timeframes and work to deliver the product or solution as quickly as you can. Maintain communication, answer questions and make sure you meet your client’s needs throughout the process.
Related: How To Build Good Working Relationships
Tips for developing client relationships
You can develop deeper, stronger client relationships with a few useful strategies and practices. Use these tips to improve your client relationships:
Check-in frequently: Regularly get in contact with your clients to make sure your company is meeting their needs. Offer support or assistance if they call for it and continue to check in, even if they have everything they need.
Solicit feedback: Ask your clients for feedback throughout the transactional process. See if there are ways you can improve communication, processes, or procedures for future interactions.
Maintain two-way accountability: You are responsible for providing certain information and deliverables to your client, and they are responsible for the same. Make sure you set up clear lines of communication to maximize accountability.
Prepare solutions: Consider possible challenges prior to beginning the project and create solutions for those problems. When you have potential solutions in place before issues arise, you’re better able to keep the project on track.
Respect time: Your client’s time is valuable, as is your own. Set clear, consistent timelines for meetings, deliverables, and other project elements. Communicate if timelines will change.
Treat each client as an individual: Each client has different needs and desires. Take the time to get to know the individual nature of every one of your clients to best serve them.
Be patient: Clients might change their minds about the direction of a project. Production might slow for several reasons. Throughout the process, remain patient and upbeat with everyone involved.
Listen closely: Truly listen to your client when they express needs and desires. Meet their needs and address any concerns they express. Remember the ideas they share and reference them later to help build the relationship.
Research and learn: Find out all you can about your client, whether they’re an individual customer or a business. Research and knowledge can help you better meet their short- and long-term needs.
Respond quickly: Promptly answer phone calls and emails. If you don’t have an answer to a question, respond anyway and let the client know you’re looking for the answer. Make sure your client always feels heard.
Provide next steps: As the project progresses, make sure the client always understands what the next step is. It’s comforting to know what to expect, so having your own expectations for the next phase of the project can help support clients.