Relationship development is a key component to the success of your new business. Without clients, all the business expertise in the world can't sustain your business into the future.
Listen to Your Clients
Hearing is a natural human function, but listening is a skill well worth developing in the world of business. Potential clients want to know that you can meet their expectations and deliver the outcome they're looking for. Listen carefully to what they want. Before you respond, let what they've said sink in so you can address their unspoken desires and concerns as well.
To offer solid client customer service, be an effective communicator. After hearing your client out, show them that you listened and communicate their needs back to them. Then, tell them how you plan to fulfill their needs. Be specific about how your services or products can help them, but always focus more on meeting their needs than on simply selling them a product.
Remember the Golden Rule
The customer may not always be right, but they are the most important person to your business besides yourself and your employees. Treat your clients the way you like to be treated when the roles are reversed--and then some.
The best way for a new entrepreneur to gain new clients is to be available. Even if it's after hours, be diligent about answering the phone and promptly return incoming calls and emails. Treat every inquiry like it's the most important one you've received. Your clients will remember your efforts to accommodate them.
Add Extra Value
Find ways to add value to your service or product. Whether you offer extra technical support or additional information about how to use a product, make the client feel that they are getting a bonus by choosing your company to meet their needs. Remember that relationship development is about creating a long-term relationship with the client beyond the first sale.
Offer a Guarantee
Another factor in relationship development is to offer your clients a satisfaction guarantee. A guarantee reassures potential clients that you stand behind your business and that they have a method of recourse if they are dissatisfied. If for any reason a problem arises, your expressed guarantee may be enough to keep them as a client in the future as well.
Client relationship development, like personal relationships, revolves around the ability to listen and communicate effectively. In fact, before your business is fully established, relationship development is absolutely crucial to building a name for yourself. Treat your clients the way you like to be treated, make yourself available anytime they need you and offer them some added value for being your client. In addition, establish a satisfaction guarantee that minimizes any risk involved with hiring you to provide the products or services that they need.
Put as much into building a reputation for excellent client customer service as you do creating the best products and services in your industry or niche.