One of the biggest factors in your company’s success is how happy clients are with your work. While a "get the job done" mentality is essential, the key to excellence is becoming true client partners.
Being a client partner means you are someone your clients can lean on, collaborate with, and work with long-term. Nearly two-thirds of SMBs report that more than half of their revenues come from repeat customers. Nurturing these client relationships will pay off in the long run.
By taking actionable steps to create a true partnership with your clients, you open up the path for future opportunities and lay the groundwork for business growth.
Your existing customers are your primary source of future revenue. In fact, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase your profitability by 25%. But building the kind of relationships you need with clients in order to keep them coming back is a two-way street — you need to be willing to put in some legwork to make it happen.
Suppose you never contact your clients outside the confines of the services you currently provide. In that case, you’ll never know if they have additional projects or opportunities your agency would be perfectly placed to provide.
Your relationships with clients should be built on mutual respect and mutual benefit. You help clients solve business problems. They help you sustain and grow your business. You are accountable to each other for the success of both companies. So how do you build client relationships that stand the test of time?
The foundation of any partnership is continuous communication. Regular status reports allow you to remain visible as a professional and keep the conversation going both during and after a project.
If you are actively working with a client, provide a status report at least weekly. Keep clients involved in the project while you stay accountable for a weekly milestone.
If you are between projects or off retainer, try to stay connected monthly or, at the least, once a quarter. Never let them forget you have valuable skills they need.
Don’t just solve the problem your clients bring to you. Reach out and brainstorm ideas with them, and encourage them to reach out to you as well.
Pick their brains about the challenges they face. See if you or someone in your network can solve their problem. Step up and offer a solution and become a valuable player for your client partner team.
If mistakes were made, own them. Tell your client what happened and what you are doing to fix it. Most people appreciate honesty, especially if you offer a way to make good on the original promise.
If you come to an obstacle or your client somehow impacts your project's progress, sit down, and have a heart-to-heart. Remain professional and continue to be solution-oriented. Act as a partner, and your clients will live up to their end of the bargain.
They won’t know you hit a snag or why until you tell them. They may be unaware of the issue until you bring it to them. Besides, wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you?
Coaching has been a common practice in the business world for decades, and for good reason: it works.
In essence, coaching is standing side-by-side with someone to help them learn new things. You aren't lecturing. You aren't doing it for them. You are showing them how to work effectively.
Remember that a coach never talks down to a player. Approach your client as an equal and help them become part of your client partnership team.
It's important to take the time to understand what the customer wants. Learn all you can about their company’s story. Why do they do what they do? How did they come to be in this business? What are their goals for the future of the company?
If you know all that, you have the best insight into how to grow their business and keep them as a client in the long term. Openly discuss the struggles they face, and offer ways to help. But you can’t give them thoughtful assistance until you know who they are and what they need.
Accelo helps digital agencies increase productivity and efficiency by developing a true partnership with them. That’s why we know client partnerships work.
Sign up for a free trial at Accelo. We’re ready to brainstorm ideas that can help you boost productivity and profitability across your business. You can also learn actionable steps business leaders can take to improve their productivity, efficiency, and bottom line by downloading our new eBook here.