Deal with multiple clients on a day-to-day basis? Then you don’t need us to tell you that keeping track of their information and your relationships with them can be an absolute minefield. This is because the relationship you have with each customer will be different from the last, with each having their own goals and expectations that you won’t just have to understand, but also deliver.
Managing client relationships isn’t a task for the weakhearted. After spending valuable time and money on acquiring new customers, this will only be a waste if you’re not able to retain those customers. All relationships need to be nurtured, and how you deal with clients after they sign the dotted line can make or break any possibility of having a future relationship with them. Unfortunately, many businesses fall when they come to this hurdle.
We all know that customer retention is important – but let’s back this up with some stats, shall we? According to Gartner Group, 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of their existing customers. In addition to this, 51% of customers claim that they wouldn’t do business with a company again after having just one negative experience.
The good news is that it’s easy to prevent client relationships from wilting. As with many things, being organized and maintaining clear and frequent communication can be the key to success. In fact, an April 2016 survey shows that communication caused the biggest problem faced by businesses when working with an outside agency. More often than not, a lack of communication will be caused by disorganization.
Want to ensure that your customers are with you for the long-haul? Check out our top tips for keeping track of your client relationships…
If you manage communications between potential and existing customers, then a CRM system should be your first port of call. Here, you can store all the information you hold on each contact in one place, such as their name, address and company, as well as what stage in your relationship you are with them. You can even send customized emails to these contacts, and keep track of what they have received. This information can then be easily (yet securely) accessed by anyone in your organization that needs it.
When it comes to email communications, taking advantage of filtering tools can also be helpful for ensuring the right information is sent to the right person. Microsoft Outlook and many other email providers now enable you to choose emails from different contacts to be automatically sorted into a different folder, so you no longer have to worry about sending a document to the wrong client and frantically trying to recall that email…
The secret to effectively managing client relationships? It’s none other than simple organization. If you want to get a client on your good side, it’s important to remember who they are, what their goals are, and what work you’ve promised to deliver to them and when. If you miss an important deadline because you’ve confused it with another client’s, then why should you expect them to choose you over a competitor next time?
Adopting the use of a task management system, such as Ayoa, will also help you to keep track of your individual tasks and any projects you’re working on for clients in one place. Categorize your work by client, split this into individual tasks and set due dates and reminders for each one to ensure everything gets done on time. If you’re working on a project with others, simply share your tasks with them so that everyone is clear on their responsibilities and deadlines.
Everyone on your team should know what they are doing and when. That’s great – but do your clients know when to expect work from you? Sending them regular email updates (on a weekly basis, for example) and arranging monthly calls or meetings is a good place to start, so make sure to schedule these into your diary. However, for faster responses, encourage them to interact with you through instant messaging. Many task management systems (like Ayoa) now offer this feature, so you can keep everything in one place.
Sticking to deadlines is vital for getting customers to trust you, but there are various reasons why something might not be completed on time. Maybe the person on your team with the skills to do the work was off sick, or maybe the client didn’t send you the information you needed to get the ball rolling. Whatever the case, if you know you’re going to miss a deadline, make sure you let clients know in advance and give them a new, expected deadline date. Most will appreciate the honesty and not being left in the dark.
Planning regular face-to-face meetings is a great way to build up a relationship that feels more personal with your clients. You want them to feel like they know you, and be comfortable picking up the phone or firing you a message when they need something. It’s also much easier to read a situation when you meet with someone in person, reducing misunderstandings over budgets, deadlines, future meeting dates, and the like.
Yet, with so much going on in meetings, it can be hard to keep track of what was decided. To combat this issue, always follow them up with an email, giving a quick summary of what was discussed and what actions were agreed following the meeting – and don’t forget to mention any deadlines. To ensure nothing is missed, delegate the task of taking minutes to someone in the meeting, and relay this information in the follow-up. Email is the best format as it provides a clear record you can refer back to.
Make managing your client relationships easier than ever by choosing the right systems to help you. With task management software like Ayoa, you can categorize projects and tasks by clients and set due dates, so you always know what each client is expecting and when. To get started, discover more about Ayoa or sign up for free.
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