8 Key Ways for Building Strong Client Relationships in 2022
The benefits of Client Retention | A Guide for Small Business
Every business owner knows that happy customers are the key to a successful business.
Not only do they provide repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals, but they also help to build a strong foundation for future growth.
But how do I go about building client relationships?
Our small business guide provides you with relationship building tips to create easy to implement strategies that will strengthen your retention rate and increase customer satisfaction.
1. How to build trust with clients
In any business, the relationships you have with your clients are crucial. Your clients need to trust that you have their best interests at heart and that you are looking out for them.
You can build strong, lasting relationships with your clients by:
- Be transparent - When you are open and truthful with your clients, it eliminates any fears they may have about your product or services. Being transparent shows accountability and helps build trust with your customer base.
- Be easy to contact - Clients should never have to spend time digging around trying to find a way to contact you. Always ensure that your phone number and email address are visible on your website, social media, and any correspondence you send through.
- Be reliable - One of the key ways to build strong, lasting relationships with your clients is by being reliable. This means always meeting deadlines, responding to their queries in a timely manner, and following through on promises. When your clients know that they can count on you to be reliable, they will begin to develop trust in you and your business.
- Be respectful -One of the most important things to remember when building strong, lasting relationships with your clients is to always be respectful. This means listening to their needs and concerns, being open and honest, and maintaining a professional demeanour.
- Be punctual - Time is a precious commodity, and your clients will appreciate your respect for their time. Whether it's being on time for meetings or returning phone calls promptly, making an effort to be punctual shows that you value your client's time and are serious about your relationship. Of course, there will be times when circumstances beyond your control make it impossible to be on time. If this happens, always explain the situation to your client and apologise for the inconvenience.
- Taking responsibility – Always take responsibility when something goes wrong and don't try to shift the blame. Be quick to own up to your mistakes and be sincere in your apologies. Your clients will appreciate your honesty, and it will go a long way towards building trust.
2. How to communicate effectively with clients
When it comes to client relationships, communication is essential. Whether you’re communicating via email, phone, or in person, it’s important to be clear, concise, and professional.
Communicating effectively builds trust and rapport with your clients and may include:
- Be responsive - When clients reach out, they want to know that their concerns are being heard and that they are a priority. Responding promptly, shows that you value their business and are invested in meeting their needs. If you can’t answer a question right away, let the client know when they can expect a response.
- Be clear - One of the most critical aspects of communication is clarity. When communicating with clients, it is important to be clear and concise in your language. This means using simple words and sentences that can be easily understood and avoiding technical jargon or industry acronyms that your clients may not be familiar with.
- Be a good listener - It is essential to take the time to really understand what the client is saying and what they are looking for. This means resisting the urge to interrupt, asking clarifying questions, and actively listening to the answers. By truly understanding the client's needs you hope to provide them with the best possible service.
- Be empathic - When you can put yourself in the clients' shoes and see things from their perspective, you can better understand their needs and respond in a way that is helpful to them. By expressing empathy, you send the message that you care about your clients and are invested in providing them with the best possible service.
3. How to get organised at work
One of the best ways in building client relationships is to stay organised. By keeping track of deadlines, appointments, and other important details, you can avoid frustrating your clients with missed opportunities or forgotten commitments.
Staying organised shows that you value your clients’ time and respect their schedules. This level of organisation can also help prevent misunderstandings or miscommunications, further strengthening your relationship.
By making a few simple changes to your workflow, you can greatly improve your interactions with clients and build strong, lasting relationships.
- Keep track of your calendar and appointments – Juggling multiple appointments and bookings for your clients can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Keepon has created an app that not only integrates all of your external calendars to view all in one place, but also manages your online bookings from clients.
- Automate tasks to simplify your process – Processes are essential in helping our day run smoothly and understanding how certain aspects of our business will run. However, we can get bogged down in the administrative side of processes which can blow our time availability out of the water. Keepon has created an app that will have you reclaim your precious time.
By creating a Keepon online portal, you can easily:
- Take online bookings
- Accept payment
- Send appointment reminders
- Have customers manage their appointments
- Track payments
- Accept on the spot payments
4. Why is it essential to follow up with a client
Follow up is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a strong working relationship with a client, yet it is often overlooked.
By following up with your clients on a regular basis, you will stay top of mind and be able to address any concerns they may have. It is also an opportunity to build a rapport and better understand their needs.
When following up, make sure to be consistent and always provide value.
You can add value by:
- Thank them for their time - Thanking your clients for their time is essential for maintaining a good working relationship. It shows that you value their time and appreciate the opportunity to work with them. It also sets the tone for future interactions and makes it more likely that they will continue to do business with you. Thanking your clients also helps build rapport and trust, two key ingredients for any successful relationship.
- Offer advice and share useful information – Providing value to your client by sharing helpful information or advice demonstrates your expertise and can help establish you as a thought leader in your industry. It could be as simple as sharing an article you have read or offer ideas for a project they are working on. Just make sure that this information is relevant to the client's needs.
5. The importance of customer feedback
One of the most important elements of building client relationships is receiving regular feedback. By receiving feedback from your clients, you can ensure that you are meeting their needs and exceeding their expectations.
There are a few different ways to get feedback from your clients:
- Ask them directly - Asking your client directly for feedback is one of the most effective ways to get honest, constructive feedback. It shows that you value their input and are willing to make changes based on their suggestions. When asking for feedback, be specific about what you would like to know. For example, instead of simply asking, "How was your experience?" try "What did you think of the service we provided? Was there anything we could have done better?" Be prepared to listen to both positive and negative feedback and thank your client for their time regardless of what they say.
- Gather information from a survey - This can be done via email or an online survey tool. When creating the survey, be sure to include questions that will give you specific and actionable feedback. For example, ask about specific elements of your work that the client liked or didn’t like. You should also ask about their overall satisfaction with your work. Once you have collected the survey responses, take some time to review them and identify any common themes.
Remember, feedback is an invaluable tool for improving your business, so always be gracious when clients take the time to provide it.
6. How to exceed a client's expectations
In any business, the key to success is repeat customers. It costs far less to keep a client than it does to find a new one, so it is essential in building client relationships.
One of the best ways to do this is by exceeding their expectations. Whether it is going above and beyond to solve a problem or simply responding to inquiries quickly and courteously, taking the extra step shows your clients that you value their business.
A few ways you could do this are:
- Share your expertise – You are an expert in your field, and your knowledge makes you a valuable asset to clients. Sharing your expertise and thinking outside the box to provide that extra layer of service will not only have your clients remember you but could present you with new opportunities and referrals.
- Finish your project early – Finishing a project ahead of schedule isn’t always possible, but when time allows, completing it early shows dedication and enthusiasm. We’ve all been in that position where we are waiting to receive a product or service. Delivering it early will have your client excited and looking forward to the next project.
In today's competitive market, providing exceptional customer service is essential for maintaining a loyal client base. By exceeding your clients' expectations, you will not only build strong relationships, but you will also create advocates for your business who are more likely to refer new customers your way.
7. Should I be flexible with my client?
One way in building client relationships is to be flexible. If a client asks for something that you don't normally do, be open to trying it out. Not only will this show that you're willing to go the extra mile for them, but it may also open up new opportunities for your business.
Similarly, if a client request comes in at the last minute, do your best to accommodate them. This flexibility will show them that you're responsive to their needs and that you value their business.
Being flexible with your client will have you:
- Build loyalty & trust
- Strengthen connections between you and your client
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Stay ahead of the competition
8. Why it's important to keep learning in business
As a business owner, it's essential to keep learning in order to stay ahead of the competition and better serve your clients. Learning new things shows that you're invested in your business and committed to providing the best possible service.
It can also help you build strong relationships with your clients by showing that you're interested in their needs and willing to go the extra mile.
- Industry news and trends – Keeping up to date allows you to identify new opportunities and challenges and develop strategies for dealing with them. By keeping abreast of developments in your field, you can provide your clients with the most up-to-date information and advice.
- Networking events and conferences – Attending these events gives you the opportunity to learn more about what other professionals in your field are doing whilst networking with potential collaborators and staying current on research and best practices.
- Short courses – By exploring short courses, you can keep up with industry trends, learn new marketing strategies and even get savvier with social media. Social media provides a way for you and your business to connect to your clients on a different level.
- Learn more about your apps – Most businesses these days use apps to help automate the running of their business. By taking the opportunity to get a better understanding of how the apps work, you can make your business run more smoothly and provide a better experience for your clients. Most reputable apps have tutorials available via their websites.
Learning is essential to the success of your business.
By making a commitment to lifelong learning, you can ensure that your business will always be at the forefront of the latest trends and technologies.
Building client relationships is essential
Trust is the foundation of any good relationship, so it's important to establish trust early on. You can do this by being honest and transparent with your clients.
It's also important to communicate effectively. This means listening to your client's needs and concerns and responding in a way that is clear and helpful.
Be respectful of your client's time and energy and stay organised so that you can be as efficient as possible.
Follow up consistently and be flexible when things come up - remember that no two clients are alike.
Finally, keep learning about how to best serve your clients. The more you know, the better equipped you are in building client relationships that last. By understanding how to build strong, lasting relationships with your clients, your small business will continue to grow and thrive.
Are you ready to build strong, long-lasting relationships with your clients?
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