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Are you a small business owner wondering what it takes to be successful?

In most cases, the success of a small business depends largely on having a positive relationship with clients. This is even more critical when your company is just starting out.

Here are five tips for building healthy relationships with clients while providing exceptional customer service.

1. See Your Clients as Individuals, Not Just Paychecks

One way to enhance relationships with your clients is to not just see them as “dollar signs” or in the context of how much money they can give to your business. Although you have a professional relationship with your clients, you can still view them as human beings who deserve your respect.

Of course, how much you personalize client relationships can depend on the type of customers, their personalities, and your specific industry.

2. Maintain Good Communication

Your top concern should be communicating effectively with your clients. When you explain things, be sure to use words that are easy to understand, not jargon or “shop talk” that’s only familiar to your industry. If you communicate electronically, use professional words instead of texting terms.

In addition to speaking correctly to them, it’s just as important to listen to what they have to say to you, such as listening actively, not interrupting, and having good eye contact and body language.

3. Respond to Their Phone Calls and Emails Promptly

Ignoring phone calls, text messages, and emails or taking too long to respond can easily hurt your relationships with clients. Therefore, promptly get back with clients when they call, text, or email you.

If you can’t answer their questions immediately, still respond quickly, telling them you’ll give them an answer as soon as you have it.

4. Share Information and Invite Clients to Be Part of the Process

Another huge way to make clients feel like they’re valuable is by sharing information and having them get involved in the process. In other words, don’t keep them in the dark. Although you may not want to share negative news, clients still want to know the truth. By being honest, you can build healthier relationships and let your clients know you’re trustworthy.

5. Work on Client Retention

Never take your old customers for granted. One method that helps keep clients is targeting them with special offers, such as offering discounts for products or services. The more familiar you are with your clients, the better you can individually approach them according to what they like or need.

Additionally, why not occasionally reward those customers who give your business the most profit?

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • Besides summarizing your conversations, be sure to go over what’s involved in the next steps. You want to make sure a client knows all the details to avoid confusion later on.
  • Meeting deadlines with clients is extremely important, as it builds credibility and trust. When setting a deadline, be realistic so that you don’t give a client a deadline that you probably cannot meet.
  • Realize that good relationships aren’t developed overnight; they usually take time. Thus, be patient when working on relationships with your clients.
  • Be considerate of your clients’ time, keeping in mind that they are busy people just as you are.
  • Avoid using negative words and statements.
  • Ask your customers the way they prefer to communicate. For instance, ask if they would rather communicate by phone, email, or texting.
  • Be adaptable. Because each client is different, you need to know how to make adaptations as to an individual customer’s circumstances, mood, and personality.
  • Put your clients’ needs first even if they irritate you or you think they’re unreasonable.
  • Be sure you’re available for your customers and they’re able to reach you. If you mostly do business online, it’s a good idea to meet them in person sometimes, if possible.
  • Provide video calls for clients who don’t live near you.
  • Ask clients for feedback, as this helps in improving relationships as well as lets you know your company’s strengths and weaknesses.

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