One of the of the most challenging aspects of marketing involves customer relations. While it is of great importance to provide top quality marketing services to your client in order to get paid, you also need to maintain a strong communicative relationship with your client to be effective and make them happy. This balancing act can be very challenging.
For example, PufCreativ currently serves 11 clients. I personally handle 9 of those client relationships. What’s most difficult about the relationships I manage is that all of the work we do for those clients is continuously evolving throughout the stages of our relationship and marketing timeline. This means that I need to consistently deliver quality content while also maintaining a positive relationship with my point of contact. It can often be difficult to balance the administrative and content based work I do with keeping all of our clients informed and on track with our processes.
At the end of the day, marketers must perfect this balancing act to be effective and to satisfy the customer’s ever-changing needs. The better the relationship with the client, the more effective the communication, and the more likely you are to meet their needs to their satisfaction, while getting paid and continuing the relationship with little to no issues. Below are some tips I offer that can help you build a quality, lasting relationships with your clients.
Best Practices for Marketing and Relationships
In a recent article by Forbes, the writer mentions the 7 best practices in building client relationships. Here is a list of the Forbes 7 best practices that include my personal input below:
1. Be patient in building new relationships.
Patience is crucial. I’ve jumped the gun with a client before, which in turn overwhelmed them and scared them off. The best way to conquer your natural instinct to pin down new clients, is to understand and practice emotional intelligence . In other words, be aware of your own and others emotions around you. There is no one set method that is effective. Every client is different and it is important to get to know them so you can strategize the most effective methods of communication that proves the most suitable to your client, their style and personality.
2. Get to know the client’s industry or company.
The more you know about them, their company, and their services or products, the more fluent your conversations will be. Clients are often flattered and excited to talk about their business. Give them some time to explain their motivations, passions, and vision. This knowledge will minimize the amount of questions you have and will show your client you value their initiatives.
Go the extra mile.
3. Take the time to do things the right way.
Don’t be lazy. Do everything you can to bring the most quality to your work, how you present it, and how you present yourself at all times. It’s all about proving your worth to the client to build those long term relationships.
4. Treat every client as if they are your most important client.
Stay motivated, have a plan, and don’t mention other client’s needs or deadlines. By making your client feel special by prioritizing their needs, you will add longevity to your relationship. No one wants to be made to feel second rate, especially when their business/livelihood is involved. Treat each client as if they are your only client.
5. Respond Promptly.
No one enjoys waiting days for a response to a basic email. In today’s world, many would find that flat-out rude. Therefore, I NEVER want to make my clients feel this way. Adhere to the 24 hour rule and do your absolute best to get back to clients within a 24-hour window. It’s 2017, everyone in the business world is expected to have access to a phone. As a professional, every phone call from your client should be prioritized as an important phone call you should do your best not to miss. If a connection is missed, do your best to follow up right away by phone or email to let the client know their efforts to contact you will always be acknowledged within a 24-hour window.
6. Don’t be just an email.
It’s easy to hide behind your email address. It gives you more time to respond than a text and doesn’t put any pressure on you to lead a conversation. Email is a very passive form of communication. Don’t be that person that hides behind emails. Pick up the phone and call your client, or better yet, meet with them face to face. Talking with your client over the phone or in person develops a stronger bond, allowing you to better understand and serve your client.
7. Always summarize next steps.
This is a major point! At the end of every phone conversation with a client, I summarize the major highlighted points of the conversation, explain the next steps, and also follow up with an email to document the conversation in writing. This helps manage client expectations while keeping everyone on the same page.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
You may be thinking, “Hey dude, you mentioned it being 2017. Isn’t there a program that can help you keep track of your customer relationships by now?” As a matter of fact, there is! There are a ton of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs out there. Actually, a majority of them have been around since the 1980s.
One of the leading pioneers of CRM is SalesForce . Like other CRM programs, SalesForce allows you to organize your customer’s emails into chains that your entire team can view. This allows your team to easily view the entire conversation, make notes regarding the client within the program, task out assignments, and stay on top of the relationship in general within one centralized program. You can organize clients into different pipelines, depending on the stage they are in within your operation. Also, you can send a chain email to the entire group within the stage, instead of individually emailing each client a new general message or update. This not only saves you time, but also pays off financially in the long run by reaching the most amount of clients as possible. For additional leading CRM programs, check out Streak and Mixmax.