We’re all in business because of our clients – if it wasn’t for them we’d have no orders and therefore no business.
Client interaction has always fascinated me, its something I’ve studied since I started my web design & online marketing business over 10 years ago.
Originally there were three directors at Optix. We formed quite a nice triangle of skills – James had the design ability, Dave had the development background and I was ‘the mouth’ that went out shouting about how great ‘I thought’ we were :). So I have spent the majority of my career since then interacting and engaging with thousands of people, hundreds of which have become clients (and I thank them for that)
So how do you treat your clients? Here’s what I do:
1). I try my utmost to understand what their needs and challenges are from the beginning – thats far more important than telling them what we do.
2). I learn about their business. I want to understand where they’ve come from and where they are trying to get to.
3). I learn about them as a person. Where possible I try and find out about their family/friends and interests. This gives us more to talk about and more to build a relationship on.
4). I work out which of our services would help them get to where they are aiming to go (remember point 1? :)).
5). I never sell something I don’t truly believe will help them on their journey.
6). I’m always looking out for opportunities to refer in other people I know to them where I see that value can be added.
7). I’m also looking for opportunities for the client to connect with other people I know.
8). I see every client relationship as a long term partnership. I know that if they are successful then I will be successful – this drives everything I do.
9). I care deeply about every client – if they are unhappy, I am unhappy and will go to every length to make sure balance is restored.
10). I don’t do 9-5 – If someone needs me, they will get me.
11). If we mess up, I own up.
Oh and here’s one from Chris Brogan (A legend in the Social Media world):
Make your customers feel special – treat them with the ‘guest experience’ – I love this and am working hard on this in 2010
Without clients (partners), my business doesn’t exist and nor does yours. So how do you treat yours?