A business will be more successful if it can manage the relationships it has with its clients. Client relationship management is an effective way to maintain and create relationships with your clients. It is about creating a bond with your customer in order to your business to new levels.
Why is Client Relationship Management important?
- Creating a bond and forming a relationship with your customer is crucial.
- Keeping a client is far easier than finding a new client.
- Customer loyalty to your brand increases when clients feel welcome
- Maintaining a strong bond will ensure customers feel valued.
- Having a prolonged relationship means customers have a sense of obligation towards you and your brand. They are also more likely to advocate your brand refer you to other potential clients.
When client expectations are not met, tensions will rise. One of the most important lessons that an entrepreneur needs to learn is how to effectively manage these expectations. Here are some tips on managing client expectations:
Call the Client
The minute something goes wrong, pick up the phone. Do not send an email. A client places more value in the value of a phone call. Make sure you have assessed the issue and are ready to provide possible solutions. When a client knows that you are on top of the problem, it will instil confidence
Keep the client informed
Don’t wait for the client to call you if a problem arises. Ensure you keep your client informed throughout your interactions with them. If there are any changes to the project plan, let them know immediately.
If a problem does arise, make sure you have solutions to offer. Offer solutions and ask their thoughts. This way you show that you have in fact thought about the problem. You also value their input but are not reliant on it.
One of the biggest mistakes that an entrepreneur can make is over-promising and under-delivering. When you first start out, you want to promise your clients the world, but this is not always manageable. Set realistic budgets and timelines to ensure you deliver what you signed up to do.
Relationships are the heart of the business
As an entrepreneur, a lot of your time and energy is spent on marketing, social media, etc. Although this is all helpful, the real value comes in when you manage your customer relationships. Managing relationships takes a lot of hard work. Here are some strategies to consider when managing your client relationships:
- Respect your client’s time. As an entrepreneur, you know that time is a precious resource. Schedule time with clients only as and when necessary. Get to business when you need to and be respectful of your client’s time.
- Get face to face. As mentioned, when something goes wrong, talk to your client. Phoning them is better than email. Sometimes, what’s even better is getting face to face. This will ensure that your bond will grow with the client.
- Don’t burn bridges. The worst thing you can do is not return phone-calls, not follow up on referrals or miss appointments. Don’t burn any possible bridges that you could be building on your journey.
- Set mutual goals. Always make sure that you are on the same page as your client. Know what they are expecting from their relationship with you.
- Build your credibility. Building your name takes time. It does not happen overnight. Trust takes years to build and only moments to destroy. Be consistent with how you deal with clients as this will build trust.
- Be authentic and human. Always be authentic in front of your clients. Do not try to sell someone you are not. Your clients want to deal with the real you.