From Awkward to Awesome: A Beginner’s Guide to Building Better Customer Relationships

07.17.2018

The dotted line’s been signed, the money is safely deposited, and another satisfied customer is in the books. Whoo-hoo! Good job, team—high fives all around. It looks like your work here is done … or maybe not.

We already know that building positive relationships with your co-workers can reduce stress, improve job satisfaction, and provide some surprising health benefits. But what about cultivating positive relationships with your clients?

Benefits of Strong Client Relationships

Strong client relationships are the lifeblood of every successful organization—and for good reason. A solid working relationship with your clients builds trust in your team, establishes mutual respect, and helps you learn more about the people, companies, and industries you serve.

It can also help you identify new opportunities and ease client stress and anxiety during times of change. This keeps your clients coming back for repeat business and prevents you from becoming just another expendable vendor.

Here are a few tips to help you build stronger client relationships:

Prioritize Communication

Your work may speak for itself, but that doesn’t mean you should let it do all the talking. In a world that’s more connected than ever before, proactively reaching out to clients is a no-brainer. But many organizations still fall short in this regard. In fact, during a recent survey, business to business decision-makers cited a lack of speed in supplier interactions as their number one pain point, mentioning it twice as often as price.

Regularly reaching out to clients lays the foundation for a good relationship and helps you build camaraderie, discover new ideas, and put out fires before they become five-alarm blazes. That said, effective communication may not come naturally to everyone. Initiating an internal training program within your organization may help your team level up their communication skills.

Show Appreciation

Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Whether it’s your friends, co-workers, employees, or parents, we all want to feel like others notice and value our contributions. Clients are no different. It may not seem like a big deal, but feeling unappreciated is the top reason customers switch products or services. When you also consider that it costs up to 25 times less to keep a client than to win over a new one, it becomes crystal clear that a little thanks goes a long way.

Showing gratitude and making sure your clients feel the love doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow them back on social media, go old-school and write a thank you letter, or host a client appreciation week event like we did a few weeks ago. During the event, you can unveil fun giveaways and contests to encourage client involvement and show them you appreciate their continued business.

Share Knowledge

As you get to know your clients better, you may discover new opportunities to go beyond being just a service provider. Sharing information with your clients boosts their confidence in your company, prompts them to share pain points, and keeps them coming to you for advice and expertise. It also provides an opportunity to educate them on how to get more out of the solutions your company provides.

Sharing knowledge is easy and takes no time at all. See an interesting article, statistic, or pro-tip? Fire off a quick email and let them know. You can start by sending them a link to subscribe to this blog (hint, hint).

Business relationships are no different than any other kind of relationship. They require constant effort to maintain, and must be built on mutual respect and trust. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to nurturing long and rewarding client connections throughout your entire career.

 

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