Clients are the bread and butter of what we do in this industry. One may argue that clients share a space with employees as our most important assets. Knowing their importance, how do we build and maintain strong, lasting relationships with our clients?
COMMUNICATION MUST BE A TOP PRIORITY
- Ask your clients how frequently they would like to see and hear from you, then do your absolute best to meet those expectations.
- When it comes to written communication, clear and concise emails are critical to ensure your communication is top-notch. Your point should be clear, as should your call to action. Check your spelling and grammar before sending an email. Mistakes can leave your client questioning your professionalism and attention to detail.
- Verbal communication with your client should focus on listening to their concerns and ideas. If you do not know the answer to a question, it’s OK to acknowledge that and let them know you will find the answer and provide it by a specific date.
- Clients are people first. Allow conversations to stray from business details. For example, if they mention a vacation, ask how their trip went. Acknowledge accomplishments with a handwritten note and send them a personal card for significant life events. Building personal relationships is key to keeping a client for years to come.
SHARING INFORMATION SHOULD BE ROUTINE
- Keep clients informed of your performance. Discuss what information is essential to them and provide a monthly or quarterly report that includes the needed information.
- Remember that you are the expert in your industry. Demonstrate the breadth of your industry knowledge when appropriate. Offer yourself as an ongoing resource when questions arise.
- Provide articles or webinars that are useful to your clients.
- Mistakes will happen. When they do, own them and do not make excuses. Address the issue as soon as you have the details. Apologize if the fault is yours. Explain how the issue will be fixed and prevented in the future.
- Clients have accountability to you as well. Document clear expectations in writing from the beginning of your relationship. If those expectations change, reaffirm those changes in writing.
GO ABOVE AND BEYOND
- Provide training on best practices. Training your client is often a win-win situation. If you train your client’s staff on registration practices, you will often receive the information you need at the time of placement. If you train your client’s staff on how to ask for payment in full at the time of service, they gain confidence and improve their bottom line, making you and your company shine.
- Learn all you can about how your client operates. Are there other services you can offer to assist with their revenue cycle? Discover how your service would fit into their current workflow and present it as a resource to free up their staff’s time for other duties.
Signing a new client is always a win, but you will need to manage those relationships into the future if you want to thrive. Keeping a client is often more difficult than signing a new one, and these practices will assist you in holding on to them.
Originally Published in Collector Magazine.