Here at Kuvio, we really value the long-term relationships we have been able to build with our clients. However, creating relationships that work hasn’t always been easy. In our early days, it took us some time to realize the best ways to manage our relationships with clients to ensure that everyone was left satisfied. Today, we want to share some of the lessons we learned along the way. Hopefully, they can give you an idea of what to expect when working with us or help you build strong relationships with your clients.
Clients want to know that they are being heard. If they are trusting you to play a role in their business, they want to know that you are willing to listen to their ideas. It can be easy to get excited and start jumping in with solutions, but it is important to create a space where clients have a chance to share. Focus on taking notes, repeating back key points, and ensure you have a full understanding of what is being said.
As the experts in your industry, a strength you can provide to clients is being able to interpret and solve a problem that they can identify but have not been able to find the solution to. This is a great way to start building a bond, showing how you can help and proving why the client should invest in you.
When you are really excited about a new project it can be easy to put your heads down and get to work. However, this is not the time to let client communication slip by the wayside. Instead, focus on providing regular updates and asking for feedback so the client is also aware of all of the great things you are accomplishing for their project.
In a partnership, there may be opportunities where it is easier to upsell or make an extra profit when working on a project. While effective in the short-term, this may push clients away in the long-term when they catch on. Therefore, we focus on providing the best possible value to our clients and are transparent about what we are offering and why in order to build a long-lasting bond.
Your team probably has systems in place that work for you to keep in touch. However, what works for you may not work for other companies. Being flexible in setting up a communication plan that is customized for every client's needs. For example, we have one client that has joined our Slack workspace, one that prefers to stick to email, and others that use our custom dashboard.
Your team may be the one that has the skills to solve the problem, but that doesn’t mean the client wants to hand the process over to you. Instead, involve the client in setting measurable objectives and a plan for how you will communicate your progress towards these goals.
In most relationships, the client will have work to put in as well and it will be a lot harder for you to do good work if the client is removed from the process. Waiting for client assets can slow down a project and having to chase the client can lead to a strained relationship. To avoid this, make collaboration as simple as possible and be clear about what your needs are from the beginning.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but even in these difficult situations, it is critical to remain honest with clients. This is important for building and maintaining trust. It can be tempting to try to hide when something goes wrong, but ultimately the client will likely realize in the future and the outcome could be even worse than if they had known from the beginning. Instead, as soon as you realize there is a problem, communicate it directly to the client and let them know exactly what you are doing to make the problem better.
What do you do to build a successful bond with your customers? Let us know on Twitter, @KuvioCreative.
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