Marketing

Why Client Relationship Management Is Important To Business

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Whether you are providing service or creating a product, the way that you manage clients and customers are becoming increasingly important. There are so many products and services on the market now with a lot of competition in each and every space. When you have a product, you want every single one of your customers to be your advocates, spreading your product by word of mouth. However, if you have a service, there are important steps that you want to take when it comes to managing a client throughout providing a service.

 

BE CLEAR FROM THE BEGINNING

Acquiring a new client can be incredibly exciting. The biggest mistake that most companies make from the beginning is failing to manage client expectations. There are many unforeseen problems that can arise throughout any project while working with a client. It is paramount that you and the potential client discuss how to handle some of these problems before any contract is signed. If something happens in the middle of the project, there can be a lot of finger pointing and as a result, causing the client relationship to be more turbulent. The best way to prevent this type of problem from happening is to be clear from the beginning. At my creative agency, Evolv Creative, we are upfront in our initial meetings about capabilities, hurdles to overcome, and ask as many questions that we can to flush out any concerns from the client. By figuring them out in the first meeting, there is a risk that the potential client may decide to go elsewhere. However, most will actually be appreciative of the transparency and are often times much more receptive and excited about working with us. The most important component of a client relationship is trust. By being transparent and honest from the beginning, it makes building that trust a lot easier for moving forward.

 

STICK TO YOUR GUNS

No matter how clear you are on your contract, there will be questions and situations that aren’t covered by the contract explicitly. It is important to not only build in safeties into your contract but also know how to enforce them with your client to make sure that you maintain a positive working relationship. In your contract, you should always include something that discusses that any extra work outside the scope of what is discussed is subject to discussion and also may cause an adjustment of the budget. It is also important to require written requests for any type of additional work or changes to the original contract. This will protect you from the beginning and also ensure that you will know how to handle unforeseen situations. However, the absolute worst thing that you can do when something comes up is to immediately mention the contractual agreement. This is more of a last resort play if needed.

The best thing to do remind your client of your workflow and some of the things that you agreed on in the beginning. For example, if you are creating a video, there will be review sessions of videos to make changes. These can get extremely out of hand if not managed correctly. This can cause you to spend hours making adjustments just to please the client. While you can enforce the contract of having a set amount of changes, you still don’t want to damage the client relationship. The best way to handle a situation like this while keeping the client happy is to remind them not only how many reviews are left based off of what you agreed on. The important part of this is you mention that you agreed on it, not that the contract explicitly states it. For some reason, a contract can be a pain point in relationships. However, if push comes to shove, you may have to enforce the contract. While this has the potential of damaging the client relationship, it is essential to maintaining your business integrity. If this needs to be done, discuss it in the most honest and least aggressive way possible. At the end of the day, you want to provide a great service and you want them to be happy with it.

 

GET FEEDBACK AND SAY THANK YOU

When you are finished with a project, regardless of a positive or negative experience, it is incredibly important to your growth to gather feedback about not only your work, but the process. At Evolv, we usually send a Typeform to the main contact of a project. Typeform is a survey software that looks a lot better than a Google Survey or SurveyMonkey. The best part about it, it is extremely easy to setup. Structure your survey into a series of questions that will help you gather information about how well you reached the deliverables, the timing, the method, and the satisfaction of the client. It is also great to ask for a testimonial to add to your website (assuming it was a positive experience). You want to mention that you may or may not use it, but that you love getting feedback to share with others.

The last thing you will want to do is to write a thank you note. No, this does not mean send a thank you email. That shows that the client is an afterthought or just another cog in a wheel. Spend some time and create a handwritten thank you note. Write about whatever you want, but make it honest, personal, and unique. This will go a long way in building a continuing relationship with clients as well as opening the door for other potential clients. Handwritten notes are rare and your client will most likely mention it to somebody else. Plus, it’s good to do it the old fashioned way every once in a while.

Client management can be a challenging process. There is a lot of learning involved with this process and a lot of it is achieved through experience. The more clients you get, the better you will become and managing clients as well as getting positive reviews. Just keep going, keep learning, and keep creating.

Marketing
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Written by:
Steve Cassingham

The Power of Story for Brand Growth

Stories remain to be one of the most important pieces of society. Throughout history, stories have been a way for cultures to pass on values, ideas, and concepts. While there are many mediums to share stories in today’s culture, the principle remains the same: make it memorable. So what makes a story a memorable and why is it paramount in modern marketing?

The Hero’s Journey

Many are familiar with the hero’s journey. The idea that a protagonist must overcome an antagonist, whether it be a person, a challenge, or an internal struggle. When we feel close to the hero, we want to cheer them on to success and we feel empathy. This is extremely powerful because it means that we care about what happens to the hero, which encourages us to see the journey through to the end. Stories usually have a climax at the end which is the culmination of the buildup and ultimately the lesson learned by the hero. If you were told the result of this climax at the beginning of the story, you probably wouldn’t care as much about the story. This is because it takes time to develop a certain level of care for the story and the characters within it.

Stories in Modern Marketing

In today’s culture, we are constantly surrounded by brands, marketing, and media. More time is spent in front of a screen than ever before and most of that time is spent being exposed to brands. Traditional marketing with short one-liners and a sales pitch are not as effective as they used to be. This is because people do not care. Brands have lost touch with the consumer while chasing the bottom line. While growth and sales are important, the strategy and building a loyal audience is crucial. When a person cares about a brand and the journey that they are on, it is hard not to cheer for the success of the company. This simple concept, while more complicated to implement, is the key to driving sustained growth for years to come.

Implementing Stories Into Your Brand

To put it simply, share your story. Building a company and a brand is not always fun and games. There are struggles, challenges, deadlines, and decisions that have to be made. While it might be tempting to only share the successes, sharing the journey of the ups and downs is the game-changing strategy. This doesn’t mean that you should suddenly try to publish on every platform available (if you can, do it) but make a conscious decision to be more thoughtful in what you are creating for the current platforms you use.

Take a step back from your brand and look at the goals you are trying to accomplish, the mission of the company, and where you visualize the company in the years to come. Take that vision and craft a story around it. Who are the characters? What is the big challenge that you are trying to overcome? What lessons can be learned along the way?

Take these answers and implement it into everything that you share. Before posting, writing, or recording, think about if what you are doing will help push that story along. Then take that content and integrate that thinking into everything you design, write, and say. Over time, you may find that you are now the protagonist that everybody is rooting for to win.

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