The current global pandemic has changed the way companies have been communicating and marketing with their audiences and customers. It’s evident that client-focused efforts are more important than ever, as many are realizing that operating ‘normally’, or returning ‘back to normal’ may not be achievable. Reaching back to our grassroots of client-focused marketing may be the way to maximize client relationships from a physical distance.
In this technology-driven world, we are constantly multitasking, whether we’re checking social media, browsing online or responding to emails. These distractions may be costly from a client relationship standpoint. Improved communication and client empathy allows us to provide client-centred approaches and solutions.
Listening is a skill that requires effort and diligence, and with today’s multitude of distractions, it makes a world of difference when communicating with clients. To give our clients our undivided attention we must be present in our conversations, determine what is important to them, what keeps them up at night, and what worries them.
Keeping connected with clients through social media is an indication of the importance of their business. Determine which platforms they’re using, follow them, and share their news. In the same vein, social media provides you with a port for sharing information with clients, as it’s important to demonstrate to clients, and industry partners, which projects you’re working on and the innovation you’re driving within your current market.
Be client-centric: know your clients professionally and personally. This approach increases your ability to be responsive and show your passion, too. Maintenance programs are a good way to keep things on track and fix any mistakes as they arise. Receiving client feedback will point out areas for improvements, and it’s important that you don’t wait until the end of a project for feedback. Conducting client surveys during and at the end of a project provides opportunities to establish lessons-learned, and to engage clients.
Although this might sound obvious, we still manage to forget that it’s important to understand your firm, client and markets. Once you establish the important issues, you are able to share relevant knowledge. Clients are educated professionals but they too need education and guidance to successfully make informed decisions. Tools for providing educational insight are key to making clients feel knowledgeable and a part of the project delivery process, and can include webinars or virtual workshops.
Our new norm of working from home means we can connect more frequently with our clients. Here are a few ways connection improves our client relationships:
- Picking up the phone or setting up a virtual meeting improves our ability to make personal contact and improve our lines of communication. It helps when we know our clients well enough to determine the best ways to communicate and what they feel more comfortable with; asking how they prefer to communicate also goes a long way.
- Providing regular updates demonstrates the importances of a project and how it’s perceived.
- Maintaining regular updates identifies challenges, and rectifying those challenges helps teams to keep clients out of trouble. Guide your clients (i.e. review reports, design concepts), provide them with added value through advice, recommendations and your professional perspective. Asking clients for a review of your performance also provides reassurance that you are dedicated to surpassing expectations and delivering their project successfully.
Where do you start?
To get started, it’s important to know your audience and clients by determining what is important, and prioritize valuable services for them. At this unprecedented time, sharing values is essential, and conveying those values to clients says a lot about our social responsibility and empathy. Clients will remember these shared expressions — especially as we enter a new digital and social era.