The success of a B2B company relies heavily on strong client relationships and at GWL Advertising, exceptional client service constitutes a core value of our company. We strive to become a trusted partner of our clients, rather than viewing our relationship as strictly transactional. We differentiate ourselves from the competition through relationship-building and our level of service - something that every business should strive to do. Below are five best practices that can be utilized by virtually any company, to build strong, lasting client relationships.
1. Get to Know Your Client
Invest time in getting to know your client. You don’t have to be an expert, but gaining a better understanding of each client’s company and industry will help you better know how to not only address their challenges, but also fulfill their short-term needs and long-term goals.
2. Practice Patience
If your client is new, be patient in building the relationship. Like every other kind of relationship, the best business relationships take time. Resist any kind of behavior that could be misinterpreted as disingenuous schmoozing. Instead, take time to get to know your client and put them at ease. Ask a few thoughtful questions and in turn, share a story or a few facts that speak to your sincerity and transparency.
3. Go the Extra Mile and Provide Customized Solutions
Go the extra mile to provide unique, customized solutions for your clients. The reason is twofold:
Clients will remember the times you have gone above and beyond for them
It may open up additional revenue streams through new product/service offerings that were previously untapped.
Just remember to dedicate some forethought to how you will charge for these special products/services, to ensure you are adequately compensated and have set client expectations appropriately.
4. Be More Than an Email Address
While email and text are often the most expeditious form of communication today, they also leave a tremendous margin for misinterpretation, especially in stressful or heated scenarios, or when the corresponding parties don’t know each other well and can’t infer the tone or intention behind one another’s messages. Consider a phone call or video chat to avoid confusion and reiterate positivity.
5. Timeliness Counts
Respond to clients promptly. When a client calls or emails you, acknowledge receipt of their message as quickly as possible (so long as it’s within reason), even if you do not have the answer they are looking for. A prompt reply may seem like a no-brainer, but a delay in communication can encourage doubt or unnecessarily add to a client’s anxiety.
Powerful customer relationships are essential to the success of any company; however, they aren’t built overnight. Just like personal relationships, it’s important to cultivate and nurture client relationships. When organizations invest in strong client relationships, they create customer loyalty and generate not only positive word-of-mouth, but also increased sales. The key element to remember is that strong business relationships are built around making the client feel important. When companies accomplish this on a consistent, ongoing basis, success will follow.
So, how do you know when you’ve succeeded in building strong client relationships? A strong indication is when your clients begin to champion your quality of work and advocate your services to colleagues and friends. It’s important to reiterate that there is no defined timeline for building client relationships and the process isn’t linear; in fact, it’s perpetual. Remain patient, attentive, and let your work speak for itself. Treat the process of building client relationships like an investment and your company will reap the rewards.