|Guest Author Info|
|Author||Small Biz Viewpoints|
|Attribution||written by [[Author]]([PublicationURL])|
Many businesses rely on clients to stay afloat, so a good relationship with them is essential. An efficient and well-done job is not enough—consumers are more demanding than ever. With so many offers out there, they will go to the competition immediately if they think you’ve treated them poorly.
Building a strong relationship goes beyond fulfilling what your contract says. Consumers need to trust you. Adopt these simple practices to impress your clients and improve your reputation among potential customers.
Having adequate insurance coverage should always be the first step, as it can save your business in the event of a lawsuit. Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance, is the best coverage in the face of possible negligence charges. Who needs errors and omissions insurance?
Professionals who provide services or advice directly to consumers—such as accountants, bookkeepers, real estate agents, interior decorators, marketing consultants, and others need this insurance. Any customer can accuse you of breach of contract, giving inaccurate advice, or completing the service after the stipulated date. Even if it’s not your fault, errors and omissions insurance can help you pay the costly legal fees.
Train on Customer Service
How you treat your customers is critical for them to continue doing business with you. If they feel that the service has been poor or rude, they will go elsewhere. If it takes too long to answer them, they may look for a faster or more available company.
Your customer service team is the first contact that many clients have with your business. Therefore, your employees need to be very well trained in how to speak and how to treat them. There are several ways to guide your team and standardize service, such as:
- Educate your employees about the products and services so that they can answer all the questions of the customers and, if necessary, be true problem-solvers.
- Emphasize the importance of listening to the customer and showing empathy.
- Set service standards so that one employee doesn’t spend hours talking while another tries to solve everything in five minutes.
- Adopt a vocabulary representative of your business without resorting to too technical or too colloquial language.
- Prepare them to remain calm and professional even in the face of difficult service or rude customers.
Your business looks messed up when data is not properly filled, important documents are buried under tons of paperwork, and phone calls/emails go unanswered. Since many customers have multiple different projects and information to track, you really need to keep things organized.
There are simple practices you and your employees should adopt to make the best impression, including:
- Keep your workspace clean and organized.
- Adopt lists, either physical (through memos or post-its) or with digital spreadsheets.
- Keep strict control of appointments and deadlines: who called and expected an answer, what deadlines are about to expire, the date for which a budget was promised, etc.
- Check these deadlines often to ensure that everything is done on time.
- Start each workday by identifying that day’s priorities.
- Divide tasks into specific steps to avoid procrastination.
- Pay special attention to emails with work orders, forms, and invoices, creating systems to organize them and archive them (with clearly identified physical or digital folders).
New and old customers like to know how things are going. You should keep them in the loop, making it easy for them to contact you. Communicating with customers is one of the best ways to establish a trusting relationship. Many clients like to know that you’re available for questions or even for criticism.
Effective communication doesn’t just mean answering emails or phone calls quickly. You and your team should get into the habit of updating customers on what’s happening with ongoing projects. Don’t expect the client to ask—provide weekly email updates on contracted services, providing clear and realistic deadlines for any work still to be done.
Keep a Portfolio
It may seem like an out-of-date concept, but keeping a portfolio (printed or digital) of your best projects can help attract new customers. After all, it’s something to show when they ask for examples of your work. But don’t just throw a lot of information over a potential consumer.
An efficient portfolio doesn’t have everything you’ve done during your career. It is important only to put things that you are proud of. A portfolio is like a “best of” selection of your services.
Build Customer Loyalty is a Shortcut to Success
A strong and lasting relationship is born from a good initial service, efficient communication during the job, and follow-up to receive feedback. It’s important for the customer to feel the relationship doesn’t end when the money enters the cash register.
Clients are people with doubts, demands, and quality standards. When they realize they are being treated exactly like this, they will return to doing business with you in the future. Building a good reputation, whether through word of mouth or positive comments on the internet, can make a difference to your business.
This article was [[attribution]] and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed within this article are that of [[opinion-of]] and not that of M&T Bank, nor does M&T Bank endorse the opinions.
This article is not intended to provide tax, legal, accounting, financial, or other professional advice. Always consult a qualified professional about your personal situation.