Customer relationship management: 5 tips to build strong relationships with your clients

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Much time in business is often spent working on securing new customers. We believe that spending time building relationships with our existing clients is key to a strong and sustainable business. From the beginning, even before a client signs on the dotted line you can start laying a foundation for a great relationship.

Here are our top 5 tips to help build mutually beneficial customer relationships.

1. Listen to your client’s needs:

The first step is to acknowledge your client as an individual and listen to their specific goals and challenges. This will allow you to tailor your services or products to fit their needs. Don’t be tempted to push a product that would not be useful to their business.

Work together with your client to set mutual goals. This will allow you to become more invested in one another. Then set measurable objectives, discuss the expectations for both parties and plan how to achieve the goals.

2. Build trust and credibility over time:

Spend time learning about your clients’ business and consider which of your service offerings would best help them. Make sure to share knowledge about your area of expertise throughout a project. If your client doesn’t understand the intricacies of your process or product they may feel disconnected. By sharing information there is an opportunity to build trust and confidence. Over time you want to become the person your customer comes to first when they have a problem or a question.

3. Meet regularly & have an agenda:

It is important to respect the client’s time, however nothing can help build relationships like a face-to-face meeting. Taking detailed notes during a meeting demonstrates that you are listening to your client. Before a meeting go through your past notes and make a quick list of points to address in your next conversation. This can help to reassure the client that you are on top of your work.

4. Communication is key:

Timely, effective communication should be a priority; and at all times aim to maintain a positive ‘can do’ attitude. Be sure to manage customer expectations – always under-promise and over-deliver!

Throughout a project, be transparent and open about your opinions. Your client needs to be able to rely on you as an expert. It may seem easier to avoid confrontation and appear agreeable, however this can be counterproductive. Your client will respect your initiative and honest opinions, especially when they are in the best interests of a project.

We all have our preference for connecting be it via WhatsApp, email, text messages or calling, so figure out your clients preferred style. This is especially important if anything urgent comes up and a quick turnaround is needed.

5. Make use of a project management system:

With multiple projects on the go, it is important to keep on top of tasks and ensure that you know exactly what needs to be done for each client. There are many CRM systems out there so pick one that works best for you and your business needs. Our team uses Asana, which allows us to collaborate and work together on our projects and also gives everyone a snapshot of who is working on what.

Use the system to store relevant client information, which you can refer back to as your relationship develops. For example, goals and milestones that the client would like to achieve. Finally, set reminders to touch base with customers and re-connect regularly.

Keeping all of this in mind, it’s important to work on the client relationships that serve you as a business and keep clients that align with your business values. If you find that some of your customers or clients don’t align, assess whether it is worth spending time on keeping those relationships. At the end of the day, you want to ensure that both you and your clients are benefiting.

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