Landing an important client or customer is great; keeping their business over the long term is even better. Happy clients not only lead to more revenue but also infuse positive energy in your business. How do you keep clients happy? An article on the Dynamic Business website explains that the key is to take time up front to maintain these relationships instead of scrambling to repair them when something goes wrong.
Here are five tips for keeping business relationships positive so that both parties are satisfied with the process and the results.
- Meet your clients’ needs: A successful business meets a need in the overall marketplace, but also matches the requirements of existing customers — needs that may change with time. If you have an accounting firm, for example, you could conduct an annual customer survey, asking your clients about what they expect from your business in general and from specific services. You can also inquire about their current expectations and long-term needs.
- Build trust through consistent service: The goal is to make your customers confident about your service or product. “Have systems and processes in place so they get a similar experience each time,” the Dynamic Business article suggests.
- Stay in touch: How often you should contact a customer can depend on the type of business you’re in. At minimum, reach out quarterly; at maximum, weekly. Keeping in touch doesn’t necessarily have to mean picking up the phone or visiting in person. A monthly or quarterly newsletter might be an efficient option. As your business grows, efficient contact is important to maintain relationships and protect your time.
- Respond to requests: A quick response to a client’s question builds customer satisfaction. The key is to document your client contacts, keeping track of feedback and any follow-up that’s needed.
- Solve problems: Problems can always crop up, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Handling a customer’s problem well can actually increase their loyalty, the article suggests.
If these tips sound like a lot of extra work, compare these tasks to the work it takes to repair a strained business relationship. You’re likely to save time and increase revenue by maintaining these connections.
What “do’s and don’ts” have made the most difference in your business relationships? Share your experiences (good and bad) in the comments section below!
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Source: Dynamic Business, June 2013