Clients are the lifeblood of any business. They help you pay your bills, they allow you to grow and expand, and they provide feedback that allows you to make more money in the future.
But how do you manage those clients? How do you keep them happy without being overly pushy? And how can you keep them around for as long as possible?
According to recent reports, companies that retain more than 90% of their clients make more than three times the revenue of those who only retain 50%.
As you can see, it’s important to keep your customers and maintain their loyalty.
Here are our top tips on the best client management strategies for your web agency.
Winning Over New Clients
The first thing you need to do is be clear about what you do and why it’s important. Let them know if it’s a personal or business relationship and what the next steps are. If your client is an individual, make sure they know that they can contact you if they have any questions or concerns in the future.
If your client is a company, make sure they understand all of the services that are included in their package – it’s best not to leave anything out! Also, be prepared to show how you can help them reach their goals by clearly explaining how each service relates back to those needs rather than just focusing on what others might offer instead (like discounts).
You should also be ready for questions about things such as whether there are other companies offering similar services so that when asked about competition, there aren’t any surprises – which could lead some people away from doing business with someone new altogether!
Learn Your Clients’ Business
You may have heard it said that the best salespeople are actually great listeners. And to a certain extent, this is true – it’s important for anyone in sales or marketing to learn how to listen attentively and usefully to their prospects.
But if you really want to attract and retain clients, then you need more than just good listening skills. You need deep knowledge of your clients’ business (industry, challenges, competitors) so you can understand what they want out of their partnership with your company.
In order to serve as an effective partner on behalf of your client’s needs and goals, these are some things you should know:
- What is their industry? How is it changing? What trends do they see emerging?
- What challenges do they face in meeting their customers’ needs (or those of their own employees)?
- Who are the most important players in their market? Why do they matter? How does the competition stack up against them?
Make A Strong First Impression
It’s important to make a strong first impression when meeting with clients for the first time. Here are some tips on how to do that:
Be punctual. If you’re going to be late, contact the client as soon as possible and explain why you will be late.
Dress appropriately for your setting and audience. If they are in business attire, dress professionally; if jeans and a t-shirt is appropriate, then wear those clothes instead of khakis and a button down shirt!
Be prepared with all information needed for your appointment (i.e., an outline of what you’ll be talking about). Also, make sure that any handouts or documents are easy to read (font size large enough) and have been proofread by someone other than yourself before handing them out! It always helps people remember more if they can actually read what was given to them! Having everything ready also shows that he/she cares about his/her job – and this may sway potential clients into hiring him/her rather than another photographer who doesn’t seem fully prepared for their shoot.
Keep In Touch With Clients Between Meetings
Once the client has signed on, it’s important to keep in touch with them between meetings. This helps you build rapport and reinforce the idea that you are a trusted advisor who cares about their interests.
It also gives you an opportunity to respond to any questions or concerns they may have about what’s happening with their project, which shows that you’re attentive and responsive.
The best way to stay in touch is by email and phone calls. If your clients are using social media, you might try posting updates there as well, within the bounds of client confidentiality, of course.
Put The Client First
A client is your boss. You are working for them, not the other way around. If you think about it, this is why you’re in business: to provide a service that helps your clients and makes them happy. A client will pay you money and give you work because they want to see results – good ones!
When dealing with an upset client, remember that if you keep them happy by ensuring they get what they want and need out of their experience with your business, then they’ll be more likely to stick around longer and refer their friends/colleagues who may need help too.
Be Accessible and Listen
Be available to your clients. Make yourself available for meetings and questions, whether that means you have an open schedule or are available on weekends and evenings. If you’re not accessible, you won’t be winning over any new clients.
Listen to what they want and need from you as a provider of services or product offerings, but also listen carefully when they tell you what they think of your work so far – especially if there are problems with it.
Be A Problem Solver
As a client, you want to work with someone who can solve your problems. You don’t want to be micromanaged or have your hair pulled over every little thing. But you also don’t want to be back-burnered or forgotten about – you deserve respect and attention from your partner in business.
To be seen as a problem solver, do the following:
Understand the client’s perspective. Before you can offer solutions, you need to understand where they’re coming from – and this starts by asking questions. Be curious about what they are experiencing and ask them how they feel about it; ask them if there is anything else they would like addressed; ask how their experience has been so far with other companies (say, through Google reviews or word of mouth).
Take responsibility for the problem at hand. Even if it wasn’t your fault (or even part of your job), own up to it! It shows that you’re willing and able to shoulder responsibility for something bigger than yourself – just make sure not too much falls on your shoulders alone!
Offer a solution: once we’ve listened and taken ownership of our client’s issues, let’s follow up with some solutions on how we can help improve things moving forward.
Give Feedback To Clients
You’ve heard it said many times before that it’s essential to get feedback from clients, to help you develop your business by focusing on strengths and weaknesses, and to be able to source great testimonials.
But have you given any serious thought to offering feedback to the clients in return?
Feedback is important for clients to know how you feel about their business. It can be positive or negative, but it should always be honest. The best way to give feedback is in person and in a timely manner.
When giving feedback, make sure that it is specific and actionable, so the client knows what they need to do next. Feedback should also be given as soon as possible after something happens because if it takes too long, then the client will have forgotten what happened or why they are receiving feedback in the first place!
Keep The Conversation Flowing By Sharing Industry News
As with any good relationship, the key to keeping your client happy and engaged is communication. The more you share about what’s going on in your life, the better they’ll be able to relate to you and understand your needs as they relate to their own business.
If you’re stuck at a crossroads or feeling burned out on a project, sharing that information can help alleviate some stress by giving them insight into how much effort (and possibly money) is involved in getting from point A to point B.
It also helps them feel as though they’re part of the decision-making process, which can make all sorts of things easier for both parties down the line.
If there are new developments in an industry or market, it’s wise for everyone involved when those developments are shared among peers – but don’t stop there! Share personal stories about something unrelated if those come up naturally during conversation; this will help build rapport between yourself and your clients by showing off aspects of your personality outside of just business talk! And don’t forget: asking questions may yield surprising answers!
Take Over Team Communication Issues With Clients
You can’t be available 24/7. Even if you have an employee or team member who is experiencing trouble communicating with a client, they may not always be able to help them. Because of this, you may need to step in and take over for the employee who has a difficult client.
Your employees need to know what they are doing when it comes to managing clients. If they don’t have the right training, then there is no way that they will be able to communicate effectively with clients and help them through any issues that arise in their relationship with your company.
Trusting your employees isn’t easy – trust must be earned! You should test out all new hires before giving them full access (and responsibility) for important tasks such as client management.
Send A Polite Hands-on Reminder To Your Client About An Unpaid Invoice
You’ve probably had the experience of forgetting about an outstanding bill, then getting a friendly reminder from your credit card company. It’s not the end of the world – you can still pay on time and be back in good standing with them.
However, when it comes to clients, you want to avoid bringing up the topic at all, if possible. Sending reminders can lead to awkwardness between you and your client, which could make things uncomfortable for both parties down the road.
Instead of reminding them directly, send a polite hands-on reminder that they can forward along as needed if they choose.
Client Management Is About More Than Just Selling Your Services Or Product
Client management is about more than just selling your services or product. It’s about building a relationship with your client and establishing trust.
In order to do that, you need to be able to articulate exactly what it is that you offer, why clients should hire you for it, and how it will help them achieve their goals.
Your aim should be to get clients excited about working with you from day one by providing them with as much information as possible so they can make an informed decision.
Once a client has hired you for your service or product, the next step is maintaining that relationship throughout the duration of the project until it’s complete (and beyond). This means staying in touch with them via phone calls or emails, making sure they have everything they need at all times and keeping track of deadlines, so nothing falls through the cracks.
The bottom line is that client management is about more than just selling your services or product. It’s about building relationships with the people who hire you and helping them achieve their goals.
This makes them happy, which means they’re less likely to fire you in favor of another firm that seems better at communication or problem-solving (which, incidentally, doesn’t even matter if you’re doing great work).
Communication is vital to fostering and maintaining a positive relationship between your team and your clients, which is where Atarim can step in to help make a real difference. With Atarim’s centralized communications dashboard, your teams won’t be guessing what the client might mean or want.
And with beautiful, professionally designed reports able to be generated in just a few clicks, you can keep your clients happy with minimal effort on your part. Sign up for Atarim for free, and discover why so many digital agencies rely on it as part of their own client management strategies.