Last updated on September 16th, 2019
Businesses are easy to set up but achieving a steady growth is a hard task, even for established companies. After gaining some growth momentum, many businesses peak early and start declining in terms of sales and turnover. One of the primary reasons for their failure to grow steadily is that they stopped building relationships with clients. Undoubtedly, the client relationship is a crucial factor for businesses if they intend to grow and stay ahead of the competition.
When we talk of a client relationship, it is about the way a business communicates with its customers. Modern-day companies have a dedicated customer relationship management team to take on the relationship challenges. They effectively tackle any new issues arising from interaction with customers right away.
A strong client relationship is essential to build not just for companies, but also for freelancers. For example, if you are a professional graphic designer and working as a freelancer, you need to win the hearts and minds of your clients so that they come back to you with more projects. As a freelancer too, you should adhere to some basics of maintaining excellent client relationship that lasts for many more years.
Here Are Some Key Tips For Building A Strong Client Relationship
01. Let Them Reach You Easily
Make sure that your clients know how to reach you whenever they need to make some queries. This is basic to maintaining strong communication with them. You should specify which means of reaching to you or a responsible officer in your company is the best. So, let them know if they should prefer sending you an email as a way to quickly draw your attention. Or, tell clients that they should instead send a text message or Slack it. Similarly, find out how your clients prefer to be reached or contacted.
While contacting, clients must feel comfortable and at home when putting their questions. That is equally important as many potential customers ask questions that may not sound good to an expert like you. But you need to treat all of them respectfully. Therefore, irrespective of the level of queries, maintain a friendly and approachable tone and attitude. You should guide them through the process you want them to follow when they use your products or services.
02. Give Them Assurance
Customers usually approach business with complaints or queries because they are facing an issue that they cannot resolve. Sometimes, they desperately look for a solution to the problems related to using your products or services. Therefore, first, ensure that you will surely help them and make them comfortable. Even if you do not have the details of the issue, assure them that they will get the solution. Tell them that you have understood the problem fully so that they can hear your solution or strategy attentively. You can also tell that other clients also faced similar issues and that you resolve them. You can also show them the testimonials on your websites.
03. Take Them As Individual And Now Part Of The Crowd
The right approach when talking to your clients is to treat each one of them as an individual. Do not offer them some ready-made advice that sounds mechanical to them. When you treat them as an individual, you will provide a solution, primarily based on their problems. This means that you must first know why a client has approached you. This will help you make a more personalized conversational approach, which helps in building a stronger relationship with that client forever.
04. Give Them More Than Their Expectations
Another thing to remember when building a strong relationship with clients is that you give them more than they expected. But it is not just about resolving their problems. Surely, winning their hearts after hearing them carefully and providing the right solutions is essential. This measure will also help you build your brand identity.
But your product or service also should be such that it exceeds their expectations. For example, the packaging design of your product is stunning, or the product itself is amazing. Remember that a satisfied customer is a basis for building a long-lasting business relationship.
05. Listen To Them Carefully
Do not jump to the solutions when customers talk to you about their problems. That will give them the impression that you are not interested in conversation and understanding the issue in hand. Do not provide them with the impression that you are either unable to communicate properly, or you just do not care. To avoid such a situation, listen to them patiently. After they have finished telling you about the problem, start giving your solution in a friendly tone.
06. Set A Clear Process
Most clients are not comfortable when complaining about a service or product or want to enquire about something. They have no idea how to enquire or start the process. Therefore, set a transparent process for them so that it guides them properly. You should also set expectations. Most clients are anxious as there is some element of uncertainty when they come to you for help.
So, it is always a good idea in building a client relationship that you let them know beforehand that what they can expect from you. What can you deliver and when can you offer the solution. Everything must be set for your clients to avoid any confusion and anxiety.
07. Own The Mistakes
When trying your best to build client relationship, you may make mistakes. But do not try to make excuses or cover-up. That leaves a wrong impression on clients as they take it as bad service. Many businesses run customer services that do not respond anymore if they make a mistake and disappear. Or; others take a very long time to resolve the issue, which is sometimes irritating to clients.
A better approach is to take responsibility for the mistakes you or your company made. You should admit quickly that you made the mistakes and that you will resolve it early. That is the way to assure clients that you have identified the problem and working on it for a solution. Moreover, when you take responsibility, you earn respect from clients.
08. Welcome Feedback From Clients
Your clients are the best source of knowing if you are serving them well or not. It is when they tell you about their experience of using your services, products, or customer service. Based on their feedback, you can then make the necessary improvements.
Therefore, you should put in place a system to get their feedback. There should be a dedicated testimonial page that clients can use to write what they think of your company. They can give their suggestion for improvements. So, encourage them to send feedback on your social media page or main website.
09. Express Your Gratitude
When you benefit from clients, it is always advisable to show your gratitude in your way. This helps in building a personalized relationship. You can simply write back to them saying that you appreciate their business or efforts. Thank them for whatever little they have done to your company. Even a small gesture goes a long way to maintaining the relationship.
You can send them a personalized gift or a handwritten thank you note. Or, invite them to over lunch or a session to learn something valuable that helps them succeed in life. These small gestures are the basis for building a substantial client base in the long run.
10. Have Patience
Your company will take years before winning the trust of clients. The building of a strong relationship with clients may take even more years. You will take time to know your client inside out. Then, sharing your thoughts with them also is a gradual process. Remember that building a personal relationship with clients is always a job that requires you to have an enormous amount of patience.
So, these are the key points you should consider when building a closer and long-lasting client relationship. Make the necessary improvements if you find that something is severely lacking in your effort to appease clients with your services. Freelancers also must do their best to maintain a personal relationship with their clients for more work from them in the future. Those satisfied clients will spread a word for your services.
Webinar On Client Relationship
Considering that businesses, especially freelancers, face hurdles in establishing a strong relationship with clients, Designhill, a leading creative marketplace, thought of conducting a webinar on this issue.
So, there is a webinar on the topic – How to build client relationship & get more clients as a freelancer – on September 27, 2019. Ms Helen will be the guest speaker. She is a freelance product designer and holds 7+ years of experience in graphic design and UI/UX design. She switched from working for big Ukrainian companies to finally as a freelancer. Therefore, she is the right person to share her experience in building client relationship as a freelancer.
During the webinar, Ms Helen will deliver tips on how to prepare for freelancing, how to write cover letters and proposals, which clients you should avoid and how to handle difficult situations in building client relationship. There will also be a Q&A session where Helen will answer the community’s queries.
Even Designhill does its best to resolve the issue about its clients and designers. The marketplace offers design solutions to clients through design contests or lets them work with designers on a one-to-one basis.
Building a personal and robust client relationship is essential for the steady growth of your business. To ensure that your clients are happy and they come back, let them reach you easily. Assure them of the right solutions, respect them as an individual, give them more than their expectations, set a transparent process, listen to them carefully, and have patience. Stick to these tips to win their hearts.