It is generally cheaper for professional services businesses to win business from existing clients than to generate new customers. Consequently, managing and nurturing a client relationship is something businesses cannot afford to neglect.
However, managing clients can be challenging. Even the simplest mistake can damage trust and endanger an otherwise fruitful relationship. Here are eight tips to help you manage and nurture excellent relationships with your clients.
1. Offer Unbeatable Customer Service
This first point speaks for itself. Nevertheless, if you want to build strong, long-lasting client relationships, your customer services must be faultless. And that means jumping on clients’ concerns and complaints as quickly as you do with new business opportunities. Quite simply, overdelivering on services and ongoing support is the fastest way to get into a client’s good books.
2. Invest in CRM Software
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is an invaluable tool once you have a decent number of clients. CRM software will help everyone in your organization manage contacts with customers. It will provide you with the information needed to make every client you talk to feel valued. What’s more, the investment required to access online CRM solutions is negligible compared with the potential benefits.
ServiceWorks, the all-in-one solution for field services businesses, includes CRM capabilities along with features like online ordering, route optimization, warranty and inventory management, and credit card processing. Try it for free with no credit card required.
3. Target the High-Value Clients
Of course, it would be best not to neglect any of your clients. However, the reality is that 20 percent of your client base will produce 80 percent of your repeat revenue. So it makes sense to target high-value clients using the same 80/20 rule. In other words, spend 80 percent of your time nurturing the 20 percent of clients likely to produce the most business.
4. Respect Clients’ Time
Become a problem solver rather than a time-waster. Avoid missing a single promised phone call or meeting. Follow up on the client’s concerns when you say you will. If you cannot immediately resolve an issue, get back to the client with an update. Scheduling appointments and phone calls are crucial aspects of client management that CRM software will help you manage — and if you need to optimize routes and schedules for field service staff, ServiceWorks can do that too.
5. Understand Your Client’s Pain Points
Another crucial tool in the client manager’s toolbox is empathy. If you don’t understand the problem, you can’t offer a solution. It will help to get to know your customers and the industry they operate in so you can better understand your clients’ needs and concerns. Make your client’s life easier or their business more profitable, and you will become that client’s valued business partner.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Proactive
As mentioned above, you want to avoid wasting clients’ time. However, client management is a proactive discipline. Don’t be afraid to take the lead when you have something of value to offer a customer. And even if there is nothing new to put on the table, it’s best to keep in touch to maintain a warm relationship. A simple phone call to see how things are going might lead to opportunities for further sales.
7. Educate Clients
Become a go-to source of information for your customers and be generous with your time. Educate your clients about your products and those of other complementary service providers. Client relationship management is a long-term endeavor. There does not always have to be an immediate monetary reward for your customer management efforts.
You might, for example, refer a customer to another complementary service provider for no financial return. In that case, you will have no sales to show for your advice. However, you will have helped to cement your relationship with the client. Plus, you may have opened the door to a profitable partnership with the other company.
8. Know Your Products & Services
Even the best account managers will struggle to build a relationship if they don’t understand their products or services. Understanding the features and benefits of what your company offers is essential. Ultimately, it would be best if you were armed with the answers to why your clients should buy more services or products for you. In addition, you must be able to explain why what you offer is better than what your competitors offer. As mentioned earlier, an effective client manager is an expert in their products, industry, and customers.
To sum up, repeat or recurring business from existing clients is the cheapest to obtain. No professional services or agency business can afford to take client relationship management for granted. Instead, client relationships must be actively managed. Aim to build trust, deliver value, and respect your client’s time. Your clients, in return, will reward you with a long-lasting and profitable business partnership.