It can be tempting to put a lot of energy into acquiring new business and recruiting new clients. However strengthening your business is also about retaining your clients with excellent client relationship management.
Client Relationship Management
Client relationship management refers to the processes that relate to how you work with your clients. In part this includes customer service. However client relationship management refers to the whole process including identifying segmentation in your client base and providing the right service to the right client, at the right price and managing expectations, so you are always delivering an above and beyond service. Happy clients are committed clients, and will often lead to client referrals. However, did you know that an unsatisfied client is unlikely to feed back, but will leave and potentially complain to others about poor service.
Divide to Provide
Some of your products or services might be common to all of your clients, however you will have clients with niche needs. Perhaps you can even group certain clients together in segments. Your experience will tell you which clients need what services. And what you don’t know, you will learn by working closely with your client base. Design processes that meet clients’ needs with good client relationship management.
Stay up to Date
Questioning why things are done the way they are is healthy for every business. All too often the answer is because it has always been done that way. Whereas there are probably good reasons for any process in the first place, there can always be room for updates, perhaps with more streamlining or automation, or even improving communication. Outdated practice needs to adapt to a changing environment to avoid losing clients to more progressive brands.
Sometimes problems simply arise as the result of misunderstandings. For instance, always give your client a realistic timeframe. If you promise the work will be complete as soon as possible, they might assume this is faster than what is possible in reality. Be honest and give yourself time. If you allow good time and consistently deliver on time or earlier, this will reflect well on your professionalism. Clients are happy when their expectations are met. The key to excellent client relationship management is exceeding those expectations and consistency.
Avoid over-promising. Tell your client that the cost will be between £2,600 and £3,000 as a contingency, depending on whether you run into any problems. Everyone would prefer to hear the bottom line and then potentially make a saving, than feeling unexpectedly overcharged. If it becomes likely that the work will cost nearer the high figure, contact your client early to explain. Managing expectations is the best way to keep your clients happy, involving them in the process and keeping them updated is the best way you can do this. Equally give a clear brief for what you need your client to deliver for you to complete the work. It is important to convey what you will deliver in writing, an email is often plenty. Which provides you both with a paper trail to refer to. Anything agreed to verbally, should be followed up in writing. This sets out the agreement clearly and invites the opportunity for clarification.
Design Your Processes
Design your processes for the convenience of your clients. Good client relationship management makes it as easy as possible for clients to do business with your brand. Think about how your clients interact with your business from their perspective. Do they always get through when they contact you? Be it by phone, email or an enquiry form. How promptly are phone messages responded to? Ensure you offer a range of communication options, to suit the range within your client base. Clients want to be seen and heard so get to know them and their preferences. This builds trust and good relationships.
Set some parameters for yourself and then use these to conduct a simple evaluation of your success. These can be as simple as was the work delivered on time and within budget? Did you fulfill the brief or did you exceed expectations? Depending on your industry, this can help provide feedback on your process and help you to streamline and improve your client relationship management.
Prestige Business Management Works for You
At Prestige Business Management we can help you maintain productivity and achieve success. Find out what we can do for you. Call us today on 0203 773 2927.