Customer relationships are at the heart of any business. Just like any relationship in life, it requires care, attention and nurturing. I’ve found that the two best things I can do for my clients that benefit both them and me in the long term are to educate and delight.
Educate your clients
Often a potential client will come to me and say, ”I’m coming to you because the last guy I worked with was terrible.”
I’m probably never going to know what happened there, and it’s not my business. But like any relationship, a lot of times these things come about through misunderstandings in customer relationships too. I once quoted a new website for a prospect, only to realize too late that they didn’t want a new website. They wanted me to “fix” the old one. Here I had failed to educate the person that that is often just not possible, for a host of reasons. I somehow assumed they already knew that.
Keyword research is another area I find I need to educate clients on. Often business owners don’t understand what it does or how important it is. I need to educate them because keyword research is in fact the foundation of any SEO campaign. It’s also multi-faceted with many factors to consider before you even start building the website. Because it comes at the very start of the project, it can feel like a delay when “nothing” is happening. It’s up to me to explain the many facets of keyword research and why it is so important to get right from the beginning. That gives you a much better chance of starting the customer relationship off right.
Delight your clients
The good news is once the educating is done, it’s remarkably easy to delight most clients. Those who tried to design a website in the past but gave up in frustration will be delighted when you present them with your creative work. The thought you want running through their mind is “I could never have achieved that!”.
But there are lots of other ways to build customer relationships that achieve “Delight” status:
Customer service & responsiveness
Respond to questions (within your boundaries) as soon as you can. Having worked in customer service I know how much people appreciate a timely response, even if it’s just to say “I’m reviewing this today and will respond within 48 hours.”
Use their language
Eliminate the industry jargon from your conversation and use the language that they use. So instead of “high user intent”, say “people who are ready to buy”.
Let them know where you get your information and inspiration from. If you make a mistake, say so. Everyone makes mistakes, even the best of the best. Tony Robbins probably makes mistakes. So does Neil Patel. Think of yourself as fitting in with them when you make an error. It happens, and most clients would rather know that than be left wondering, “Hmmm, why did my site go down? Will it happen again?”
Don’t try to be perfect
There is bound to be something you don’t know about your chosen field, even if you’re passionate about it. Occasionally a client will ask a question you actually don’t know the answer to. At one time I used to try to fudge my way through questions like that. Pretty early on I stopped doing that because it just made the client wonder about me. Now I say “I don’t know the answer to that, let me get back to you.” Or even better, “Good question! I don’t know the answer off the top of my head, but I’ll find out for you.” When I started doing that, my customer relationships took another leap forward because I was showing the client a bit of vulnerability on my part, and also that I respect their knowledge enough to give them kudos on a great question.
If you can educate and delight your client, you’re going to build rapport and trust. You want your client to respect you but not to mistrust you. What they say about relationship building is true, but not just as you nurture a prospect to become a client. Your relationships with your current clients are a huge opportunity to form long-term loyalty, opportunities for recurring sales, referrals, and even friendship. So go out and educate and delight!