Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Ian Garner
Business Writer
4:01 AM 30th October 2021

Top Ten Tips For Outstanding Client Relationship Management

Image by Gerd Altmann
Image by Gerd Altmann
According to PwC, on average it costs six times more to acquire a new customer than to get further business from an existing customer. That’s why customer retention is important to any business.

A fundamental to retaining a customer is creating a happy customer. Focus on building relationships and engaging with customers in personalised, relevant ways at every stage of the life cycle.

Business people like working with people they not only respect, but also personally like. Developing a personal relationship goes a long way in building a stronger business relationship.

Get to know the client's family situation, how they spend their free time, where their interests lie and, most importantly, what motivates them on a daily basis. When you understand what makes them tick as a person, you can translate that into your business relationship.

Maya Angelou, the great American author and philosopher said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

Image by Gerd Altmann
Image by Gerd Altmann
Let’s start with some definitions:

Definition of customer satisfaction: “The extent to which our perceived performance matches our customer's expectations”

Definition of customer service: “The quality-of-service delivery set by ourselves and our organisation and judged by our customers”

Definition of service recovery: “Recognising the customer’s dissatisfaction and taking personal responsibility for restoring their trust so that they will want to do business with us again”

The top ten tips for delivering outstanding client relationships are as follows:

1. Build Trust
You need to build up trust between you and your potential customers. This includes showing them how you understand the challenges they face in their business and how your products/services help them answer those challenges

2. Build Credibility
Demonstrate to your customers that you are someone they can trust and someone who knows what you are talking about. That means you need to be knowledgeable and informed about the products/services you sell, your competitors products/services and show an in-depth knowledge of your customers’ industry.

3. Be the ‘go to’ person
Be the person customers come to first when they have a problem about something happening in their industry. Learn as much as you can and stay informed about everything that is important to your customers. Share this knowledge and information with them so that when the customer is looking for an answer to their problems, you’re the first one they call.

Image by harshahars from Pixabay
Image by harshahars from Pixabay
4. Don’t be afraid to stay in contact
Many relationship managers are afraid to contact customers on a regular basis for fear of annoying the customer. It’s a valid concern if every contact you make is a sales pitch. Stay in regular contact with your clients without being a nuisance.

5. Know which clients to focus your time on
You have to maximise the use of your customer contact. If you follow the 80/20 rule, you should be spending 80% of your time with the top 20% of your clients that bring in 80% of your sales. For the rest of the customers’, you should have a system to direct them to self-service areas and/or an assistant to help them with enquiries.

6. Don’t sell solutions – sell answers and results
Be the one that has an answer to your client’s problems or the answer to what they want to achieve. “Sell the problem you solve, not the solution”

7. Listen & observe your customer’s pains and challenges rather than pushing a product.
You need to understand the pains, challenges and goals your customers face so you can align the products/services you offer in a way that resolves their challenges or helps them meet their goals.

8. Don’t compete on price
The worst nightmare for a salesperson (and a business) is competing based on price. This is a no-win situation for you because there will always be someone willing to go the lowest price.

9. be able to answer: why should your client buy from you?
You should be able to demonstrate to your customers (and potential customers) the benefits of your product or service. You need to tell them what your product/service will do for them rather than just what your product/services do.

10. be able to answer: how are you different from all the other vendors?
You also need to be knowledgeable about your competitor’s offerings. You should be able to list out all the ways in which your product/service is noticeably different from your competitors and why this difference is important to them.

Let’s end on a great quote from US President Theodore Roosevelt,

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care!”

Ian Garner is a retired Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI) and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (FIoD). He is Vice Chair of the Institute of Directors, North Yorkshire Branch. He is founder and director at Practical Solutions Management, a strategic consultancy practice and skilled in developing strategy and providing strategic direction, specialising in business growth and leadership.