When dealing with clients there are always a few basic concepts that you should keep in mind to ensure that your communication is effective, and that your client service is always top notch. With these seven tips below, any business owner, team leader or sales representative can make the most of their relationships with their valued clients.
Always Be Productive
Your client relationship is mainly based on service. They will pay you a fee, and you will provide them with a product or a service. Your client needs to know that you are interested and that you are there to serve your purpose, by taking care of their needs. Don’t put any project on the backburner, as this will only result in negative feedback and an unhappy client. Clients don’t want to wait days for a response and extend a deadline for weeks at a time.
Take the Lead
No matter what business or market you are in, there is always room for improvement. Take the lead on a project, and see if you can finish before your deadline date. In addition, keep your client informed at all times and be one step ahead by answering any questions that they might have. Think outside of the box and constantly remind your clients that you are valuable. You can do this by going beyond the boundaries of just simply reacting to your clients’ needs. Go ahead and make that suggestion you’ve been dying to make, and let them know what’s relevant and awesome.
A smile goes a long way, and being friendly is one of the easiest ways of setting a positive tone with your clients. Being friendly is never a weakness, so make it a priority to always be friendly towards your clients whenever you speak to them on the phone, or answer an email. This will show that you are enthusiastic about your job and that you love what you do.
Make a Positive Impression
Never exclusively rely on the value of your skills; a skill is only one factor that a client has to take into consideration when choosing to work with you. Think about it this way, if you were to audition for a part in a movie that was looking to cast someone with a certain look, a certain type of acting skill, a certain type of talent; you would find yourself in a quiet waiting room filled with people who look exactly like you, talk exactly like you, and could probably do everything you can do. So when it’s your turn to make an impression in the room, what is going to set you apart?
Your clients don’t like to be treated negatively or be insulted. Being condescending could be a natural reaction to facilitating your intention to help. Always take time to familiarize yourself with your clients and try to assess what their skill level or understanding of the industry is. This will help you in determining the level of technical insight or detail you need to use when communicating with them. Always make them feel as part of your team.
Be a Human Being
Client relationships can be described as the work between two or more persons. How your clients perceive you as a worker can be easily translated to judging you as a human being if work is the only determinant for your relationship. With that said it is easy to fall into the habit of responding to requests or answer daily tasks like a pre-programmed robot. Always be friendly and talk to a client like you would want to be treated. Put the human touch to your projects and experience the rewards that come with it.
Most clients don’t take “I can’t do that” softly, and the problem isn’t in your ability to produce what they need, it’s that you’ve already killed the conversation to discuss opportunities. You may be limited in your resources being a one-man shop, but that shouldn’t stop you selling what you can do for your potential clients. The advantage of being a business owner is that you set your own rules, so be flexible in what you can offer your clients.
Many of us have been through the headache and frustration of automated telephone system: just when you think you’re going to get to a client representative, you somehow end up in the main menu again. To say the least, it is important that you are available to the small clientele in your bag as it is already hard enough to build a good reputation in the competitive freelancing market.
Being available also means knowing your capacity with regard to there is only 24 hours in a day. If you are not using a project management tool or even just a simple calendar to plan your projects, I would highly recommend you start doing so. You need to plan enough time to give your current clients the TLC they need because your current clients are the ones who will allow you to build your reputation. In other words, you have to take care of your current clients so you can get new ones.
With these tips and guidelines, you can easily take your client relationships up a notch and enjoy working in a positive and productive working environment that provides a win-win situation for everyone.