How to Build Strong Client Relations at Work
No company can be successful unless you have good client relations with your customers. Obviously, you need a great product or service, and an excellent team, and a strong infrastructure to do so. However, unless you establish good client relations with the customers that buy that product or service, it is not likely that your company will thrive.
What Are Client Relations?
The various definitions of client relations highlight some important aspects. Firstly, it is the relationship that a company or business has with its clients. Secondly, and crucially, it is the way in which that business or company treats their clients. Thirdly, it is the establishment of goodwill (that intangible but very valuable business asset) that is developed between a business and its customers.
What Are The Principles Of Great Client Relations?
- Be informed about your clients, their expectations, and what they regard as good client relations. Your customers need to know that you and your staff understand their needs, and are committed to meeting them.
- Establish a friendly, helpful, and positive environment that will ensure your customers walk away with a good impression. Ensure that they are greeted in a courteous and appropriate manner. Remember, a happy client is one who will more than likely bring you return business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.
- It is crucial that you follow up on any feedback from your customers, both positive or negative. They need to know that their complaints will be taken seriously and will be attended to with speed and courtesy.
- Make it an ongoing goal and commitment throughout your company (not just with customer-facing staff) to improve client relations, and set systems in place to do so.
- Ensure that your customers are kept in the loop about developments in your business that might benefit them. They need continual reinforcement to keep doing business with you.
- Know your products thoroughly so that customers can be advised competently and confidently. Ensure that this is the case across the board with all your staff, not just the customer service or marketing departments.
Required Skills For Excellent Client Relations
A high-performing customer service department is crucial to your success. The people you hire should possess a range of impressive skills, and you must ensure that they receive excellent training to do their job.
A skilled customer-facing service employee should have the following qualities:
- A high level of language and communication skills to deal with clients confidently and courteously, and attentively listen to and understand their problem. They must use positive language to work towards a speedy and positive resolution of the customer’s problem.
- They must be highly adaptable and be able to think on their feet, for no two days in the customer service department are ever quite the same. They need to develop a thick skin to deal with irate customers without getting upset themselves.
- They will often work in high-pressure situations, so they need a high degree of self-control and patience in order to remain calm and positive under trying circumstances.
- They must have empathy and the ability to put themselves in the customer’s shoes. Clients want to feel validated and have their concerns acknowledged.
- They must be able to take responsibility for resolving the client’s query and have the ability to admit when they can’t.
- They must be knowledgeable about your product, so they can deal with queries intelligently.
10 Effective Techniques To Establish And Maintain Top-notch Client Relations
- Hire the Right People
Ensure that your customer service department is staffed with the right kind of people and that they are well-trained, motivated, and loyal. Make sure that they know a big part of their job is to reassure clients that problems will be dealt with competently and as speedily as possible.
- Respect your customers’ time
Make the effort to talk to them courteously and never make them feel that they are wasting your time. If you have a meeting with them, be punctual, well-prepared, business-like, friendly, and respectful. Make a personal connection with them and treat them as unique individuals. Let them know you value them, that they are not just a number to you. Don’t be shy of showing appreciation to your customers. An occasional handwritten note or small personalized gifts go a long way towards further cementing good client relations.
- Ensure easy and straightforward communication
Active communication is crucial for good client relations. Do you have systems like text messages, email or Slack in place in place to make it easy for your clients to reach you, and are they fully informed about those systems? They should feel comfortable about reaching out to you. Make a point of finding out how clients prefer to be contacted, and actively encourage them to reach out to you.
- Make sure your website is easy to access and navigate
Your site should be welcoming, user-friendly, and straightforward. Include customer testimonials to show clients that you take client service seriously and are committed to helping clients and resolving their problems.
- Encourage your clients to send feedback
Welcome any feedback regarding your products and any interaction they have had with your company. It is a good idea to give a new client a quick call to check if they are happy or have any suggestions. Ensure that you take their feedback seriously and act on it. If you can’t resolve an issue, be honest and upfront about it. And always, always, deliver on any promises you make to a client.
- Exceed expectations
Probably the best way towards building strong client relations is just to do a great job. Show them that you, your business, and your staff are committed to excellence and superior client relations.
- Establish a strong presence on social media
Humanize your brand by showcasing your team and your personality. Be proactive, respond quickly, and reward your top customers to encourage further engagement. Become a person to your clients and not just an email or web address.
- Be a good listener when you speak to customers
Emphasize this aspect with your customer service team as well. Nothing frustrates a client more than to feel he or she is not being heard or that their concerns are irrelevant to your company. Make sure that new clients are fully in the loop, that they have realistic expectations regarding timelines and availability, and are kept fully updated regarding deliveries.
- Never fob clients off!
This is a sure way to alienate a client and lose their future business. If mistakes have been made, as can happen in the best-run organization, acknowledge them and take responsibility. Reassure that client that the matter will be attended to promptly and set right, and then do so. Again, ensure that the client is kept informed about what is happening.
- Streamline processes wherever possible
People value having the road smoothed for them, so make your clients’ lives easier by ensuring that the process of engaging with your company is as trouble-free and easy as possible. Facilitate any interaction, collaboration, and payments by employing the most streamlined processes and systems available.
- Good client relationships lie at the heart of a successful business.
- There is a huge link between good customer relations and communication.
- Keep your customers happy and they’ll keep coming back – and they’ll bring their friends.
- Respect and value your customers and they will be valuable customers.
- Utilize feedback from your customers to strengthen and grow your business.
CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.
To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:
Understanding Cultural Differences in Email Communication
Write A Winning Customer Service Cover Letter
How to Quit Your Job (FREE Resignation Letter Samples)
Exploring a Career as a Customer Service Manager