The signs are often subtle: your phone calls aren't returned as promptly as usual or you hear a sarcastic comment during a meeting or a mumbled remark after one is over.
Clients rarely part ways with a company over one misunderstanding or even one missed deadline. Tension and discontent builds over time, which is good because when your gut sends the “something is wrong here” signal, you usually still have time to mend the breach.
As stressful as they can be, times like these present a teaching moment – a time for you to evaluate if you're doing everything you can to keep your clients happy so they don't part ways with your company. Think of these six proactive steps as your best form of “business insurance.” As you might expect, communication underscores every one:
- Create and foster an environment in which an open and free exchange of ideas and opinions is expected and encouraged. Such an environment takes time to develop, requiring a solid foundation of trust.
- Encourage multiple relationships between the client's team and yours. Competitive jealousies can interfere with – and even undermine – the reality that strong relationships can solidify in a client relationship. Creating only one line of communication also can be short-sighted, especially if a member of your team leaves. Will that person's absence threaten the client relationship? Don't take that chance.
- Regularly solicit client feedback. The periodic client survey can help you keep your finger on the client's pulse. You may not be able to incorporate all client suggestions, but it behooves you to address complaints in due haste – before they balloon into stress points that cause a client to bolt.
- Implement a project management tool to keep everyone on the same page. Projects often contain multiple moving parts with many people “pulling the levers.” It's vital for a client to easily monitor the tasks and deliverables and make comments. Try a project management tool such as Active Collab, Basecamp, Trello or Wrike.
- Provide regular updates to your client of achievements and results. A client should never be hazy about your company's value. In all likelihood, the client must report to someone, too – even at the very top, a board of directors – and updates that teem with information provide the added benefit of making your client look good in front of others.
- Demonstrate the art of gratitude. A personal touch can go a long way toward solidifying a client relationship. Gestures such as taking a client out for an occasional lunch or dinner are important, but nothing trumps a verbal or written expression of your gratitude for the trust they've placed in your company.
ADTACK does more than preach these business values; we practice them every day in the course of working with our clients. We're go-to experts on conceptualizing, developing and executing digital marketing campaigns for companies of every size. Call us for a consultation at 702-270-8772 and you'll discover how ADTACK can help you reinvigorate your business.