The importance of maintaining positive working relationships with clients
by Team Pinnacle
Our General Manager, Judith Neill, understands the importance of maintaining positive working relationships with clients and customers. From understanding your client’s needs, delivering on those requirements, and evaluating them on an ongoing basis, focusing on targeted communications is pivotal to effective client management.
Judith gives her top tips on how to ensure the process stays on track and how to overcome any issues that arise.
“Good client management is what makes businesses successful. It’s about ensuring that clients have the best possible customer experience, that they see a real return on investment and that they want to continue the working relationship.
“You might have heard of a hundred different rules to follow when managing clients. But there’s no need to over-complicate things. The advantages of managing client relationships extend far beyond running your business; they help improve your relationship with current clients, find new clients, and retain those who’ve worked with you in the past.”
- Listen to client’s needs and have no preconceived ideas. Ask open-ended questions and educate yourself on their business/product/sector etc. It depends on which services you’re offering, but most of the time you’ll be working with people from different industries. Make sure to do your due diligence and learn the basics of their field/industry. Being aware of their business needs will not only help you do your job properly but will also show clients that you’ve really taken the time to understand their business.
- Listen to all stakeholders and do not assume that the person who engages is the person with the most information. Solicit different perspectives from across the spectrum to help inform final decisions.
- Gain a thorough and detailed understanding of client expectations – push to get the ‘real’ expectations as these could vary across the management team. Define with them ahead of time what success looks like to them. It’s all about understanding what the client wants, and then delivering that information on a timely basis. Also, make sure to have all of your service agreements, fees, and other important information on paper and share them with your clients to avoid misunderstandings.
- Build Trust. Usually, trust comes with time, but you can step on it by being as approachable and authentic as possible early on. Sometimes your clients won’t understand everything you do or say, so make sure to explain yourself. Don’t use complicated terms in order to appear smart or to prove a point. Always be open to conversation and to discussing each step of the process together.
- Understand how often the client wishes to be communicated with and their preferred form of communication. Ensure that communication is focussed and well-managed.
- When requesting information, try to be clear about what you need, so that all relevant details are collected from the client as efficiently as possible.
- Ensure that all communication is proofread and that it contains no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Clients notice this attention to detail.
- Try to add value – assist with beneficial introductions or inform them of upcoming tenders or business opportunities that you are aware of.
- Remember some personal details – do they have a dog, or enjoy holidays? This shows empathy and that you are interested in them as a person, not just a business prospect.
- When attending meetings, dress for the occasion. A business suit is not always appropriate.
Ultimately, to maintain positive client relationships, always under-promise, and over-deliver. It is an old adage but a true one. Be transparent and agree lines of communication with all stakeholders. Don’t waste their time!