Living in 2023 can feel like being caught on a never-ending ride at an information theme park. Your car is fast, but no matter what you do, you’ll never catch the car in front of you — and you’ll never reach the end.
If trying to keep up with the trends, technologies and strategies other businesses are using to get ahead is disheartening, come back to the timeless basics.
Pause and reflect. What’s most important to you about being in business? For most people in professional services, the answer is clients. They’re the driving force behind everything your team does. You might feel you already have great relationships with the people you serve, but when’s the last time you evaluated them?
Look at your existing relationships with a critical eye, and evaluate the following four elements.
Clear communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. Taking the time to understand clients’ needs, actively listening to their concerns and providing transparent information are essential. Does your team offer regular updates and prompt responses? Have you created open channels of communication that the client knows how to use?
You earn trust primarily through providing quality services. Meeting deadlines, following through on project plans and consistently delivering results establishes a foundation of reliability. Clients need to know your team has their best interests at heart and that they’ll follow through on promises.
Every client is unique, and tailoring your services is a powerful way to differentiate yourself from the competition. Take the time to fully understand each person’s challenges and goals, especially if you serve a wide variety of clients. By customizing your solutions, you’ll make each client feel more connected to your business.
Exceptional client service goes beyond simply meeting expectations. It involves proactively identifying opportunities for improvement, providing valuable insights and offering additional support. Going the extra mile demonstrates that you’re dedicated to your clients’ success and helps build a lasting impression that sets you apart.
An honest review of your client connections
Have your team give themselves a rating on a scale of 1 to 5 based on how well they achieve each of the above. Then, send a short survey to your clients asking how they feel about these same elements so you can compare. Here’s how you might phrase your survey.
We’d love to know how we’re doing in your eyes! Please rate our team on the following statements, from 1 for “strongly disagree” to 5 for “strongly agree”:
To encourage participation, you may want to allow the option to respond anonymously.
Seeing from the other person’s perspective is a crucial aspect of a strong relationship. Just think about how healing it can be to put yourself in another’s shoes during an interpersonal conflict.
This simple practice is just as useful in business. The trick is to get your entire team to unite in this approach. You’ll want to train your employees to commit to:
These skills are key because, unlike in other relationships, you can’t rely on observation and body language. You can’t be around your clients all the time, so you have to pay attention to what they share in calls and meetings and shape your engagements around those clues.
Show your clients you’re thinking from their vantage point by anticipating their needs and making customized recommendations. Sometimes, this may mean taking them by surprise — stepping outside the norm for your industry and offering an unexpected service add-on or pivoting when necessary.
➡️ Cortevo Technologies becomes an integrated partner to the schools they serve. See how Accelo helps them maintain these trusted relationships.
When people feel they’re in a true partnership with a service provider, they’re likely to think long and hard about giving that up. Working on client relationships can make your services indispensable to your clients, preventing churn and insulating your business in tough times.
If you treat one-time clients with the same interest and respect that you do long-term clients, you may see some of the former turn into the latter. That means there will be less pressure to spend money on acquiring new clients.
Proof of the value of client relationships
The team at Tegrita, a MarTech consulting firm, used Accelo to build a smoother client journey, stabilizing relationships and increasing client commitment by 90% in four years.
A relationship-first approach is a win all around, but it does take effort to sustain. One of the easiest ways to facilitate stronger connections with your clients is to use technology that helps you uphold these company values.
Accelo was built to help you keep clients at the forefront of your business while increasing internal efficiency and, in turn, profitability. Learn what’s possible for your service firm with an integrated CRM.