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Four Ways to Build Strong Client Relationships

Katie Dunlap • March 6, 2015

According to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, organizations focused on their customers consistently outperform their competition. But what does a customer-focused approach actually mean? At LYONSCG, we find that a customer-focused approach means building strong and positive relationships with clients, putting clients’ interests first, taking the customer point of view when making decisions, and a focus on building personal, long-term relationships. When firms invest in their client relationships, they essentially have a stake in their clients’ success.

Source: Pintrest/Ray Fox
Source: Pintrest/Ray Fox

So what are the best strategies for establishing and maintaining these relationships? Here are four ways firms can build strong client relationships:

Treat every client as your most important one. Each client, regardless of the size or state of their projects, wants to feel important and like the success of their engagement matters. Don’t we all share the same wish? They want to feel as if they’re your most important activity of the day and sometimes the only activity of your day. They want to matter.

Be available and respond quickly. In line with the being important to you, clients want to be heard, they want to be understood and they want a reply. Even if the reply is a simple “I do not know right now and I am checking on it”, customers want communication. They want to hear about all the resources you have looking into their issue and they want to know that their issue, concern or deliverable is being handled with a sense of urgency. They want to be seen and heard.

Go the extra mile. Clients love to see the effort, the creativity and the drive to resolve, plan, and deliver successfully. When they expect something and we deliver, that is great. However, when we deliver beyond their expectations . . . that will cause them to take pause and really take notice. We have seen time and again, when clients send notes to our leadership team, complimenting team members, it is because we delivered something that was far beyond their expectations and really blew them away. Remember, when you astound them, they also take some pride and credit internally at their own organization. We help them to look good!

Create a plan for what is happening next. While we can blow someone away one week, we still have to focus on the deliverables for the next week – what is left to complete, what can they expect and when. We need to deliver consistently and ensure that the client is on board with what is coming up. Take advantage of a successful moment and plan for the next! Keep up the positive momentum! It requires us to keep the client in the loop on what they need to do and what we are planning for the next stage…. and then deliver — or overdeliver!

Happy clients not only choose to work with you on new projects and embrace new services, they also advocate for you with their peers and other companies in your industry. For LYONSCG, most of our growth is built on our reputation and the success we have created through positive client engagements, so it is very motivating for us all to understand how to build and maintain strong client relationships.

Clients want to feel important and that they matter. This can be accomplished through the way you treat clients, how available you are and how quickly you respond, over-delivering on expectations, and being consistent in your delivery.

Katie Dunlap

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Katie Dunlap

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