Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company, a “Ma and Pa” shop or even the Digital Agency for the Next – all companies have one thing in common. We all have clients or customers. Without them our businesses would not exist. They should be the center of our work universe, but sometimes we get immersed in our ever growing to-do list and lose sight of that fact. Keeping your clients or customers satisfied is vital to the survival of your business. Below are 5 practices that will help ensure their satisfaction and a lasting relationship.
1. At the Center
The client is at the center of it all. Everything everyone within an organization does is ultimately to service the customer. If you are in a role working directly with clients this is much easier to remember than those of us who do not interact with clients very often (or ever), but we can all forget the reason we are in business. Keeping this in mind can help us to prioritize our tasks to insure what is most important to our clients is first and foremost to us as well.
2. Partner Not Vendor
To build true lasting relationships with clients you need to be a partner to them not just a vendor. If you’re a vendor you are just fulfilling job orders but as a partner you understand their challenges and work with them to develop and implement solutions. The latter makes for long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. Ask yourself if you are being a partner or just a vendor? How invested are you in helping your client’s business to success?
3. Know Where You Stand
If you’ve ever been blindsided with a “Dear John” letter from a client then you understand the importance of making sure you know where you stand with your clients. Regular touch points, periodic friendly check-ins and customer surveys are all good ways to learn about and address satisfaction issues before it’s too late.
4. Know Your Customer
Learning about and understanding your client contact(s) is a key component to having a healthy relationship with them. You should be able to answer the following questions: What is their preferred method of communication? What level of detail do they want to receive? How often do they want to be contacted? What is it they need from you to make their job easier? If you look at things from their point of view it helps you understand what they want and expect from you.
Now to state the obvious, whatever product or service you deliver to your client should meet or exceed their expectations. Perform internal reviews and establish and adhere to QA processes to ensure the quality of your deliverables. Providing a quality product or service speaks volumes about your company not just to the client who receives it but also to others who see it.