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Maintaining client relations

It's not just about winning new customers. You've also got to keep your existing ones happy

Winning clients is one thing, but keeping them requires effort. If you’re a small business owner with fewer clients than your larger counterparts, exemplary customer service can often give you the edge by allowing you to be more responsive to their needs or offer a personal touch.

If yours is a service-based business, it may well be worth appointing an account handling team, with direct lines, who can act as a point of contact and answer their queries. Building up a strong and honest relationship with a client means they are more likely to let you know when they’re having issues and to accommodate yours. 

It goes without saying there will be times when your views will conflict. However, in the majority of situations it’s always best to accommodate their needs. If not, calmly explain to them why this is so and always offer alternative solutions. Likewise, when attending client meetings be punctual, polite, listen carefully to what they’re saying and make sure you know what you’re talking about.

Essentially, you need to find ways of reminding them why they should be with you and not your competitors, without overdoing it. You have to strike a balance between being attentive to their needs and keeping them informed and involved without bombarding them. Rewarding their loyalty can be a great way of nurturing your relationship, as can taking them out for a night out. Asking your clients how you could improve your service will enable you to work on your weak spots, so long as you’re willing to take their feedback on board.

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