Best Practices in Client Relationship Management

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Hayden Woodard -

Best Practices in Client Relationship Management

Managing and improving client relationships is the foundation of any business. Client relationship management refers to any actions your organization takes to coordinate its interactions with current and potential clients. But do you really need a coordinated effort? Here’s why client relationship management is so important and some best practices to help your business get the best possible results. 

Why You Need Client Relationship Management

Consider your own experiences as a customer and the ways you spend money. Chances are, you’ve been the victim of some poor customer experiences more than once. And, when a lot of money is on the line, it impacts your view of the business long-term. In fact, you might even tell others about your poor outcome. 

One study found that unhappy customers tell twice as many people about their negative experiences as happy customers do when something goes right. And when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) relationships, the customer experience must be personal and customized. According to a study by PWC, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. 

Best Practices for Client Relationship Management

The B2B buying process is time-consuming and complex. A Gartner survey reports that 90% of customers do not follow a straightforward customer journey but instead repeat actions and loop back at least once as they go through the process. Here are some best practices for client relationship management to optimize the customer experience and improve your business results. 

1. Assign an Account Manager

While some B2B buyers will want to conduct some online research, there needs to be a human element to these complex transactions. Can you imagine purchasing your next home or car at a kiosk? It’s simply not practical. 

Having an account manager assigned will ensure every client and prospect can speak to the same person when they have questions or are ready to move to the next step. This also prevents them from having to explain their issue multiple times, which could be frustrating.

2. Create a Well-Organized Sales Team

In addition to your account manager, your business can establish a well-organized sales team to guide clients through the sales funnel and improve client retention. Some of the initiatives that make this most effective include:

  • Fast Response — Establish guidelines for how long it will take to respond to a request for information or service. 
  • Develop Resources — Determine what information is appropriate to give to a customer at each stage of the buying journey so they have the information they need to move forward.
  • Offer Incentives — Create incentives for your sales team to increase the revenue associated with each transaction. 
  • Provide Support — Remain available to provide support if or when the client needs change.

3. Get to Know Your Customer’s Organization and Industry

Take an active interest in your customer’s business and get more involved in their industry. If you want to be more than just a supplier, it’s important that you make an effort to understand how an industry works and its various challenges. 

When you gain company and industry-specific knowledge, this places you in a more favorable light as a long-term business partner. With this insight, you can better cater your offerings and interactions to meet the needs and respond to the various changes your clients are facing.

4. Establish Value

Customers want to know how you can help them achieve their goals, not how they can help you achieve yours. Instead of talking about making a sale, a good way to approach prospects and current clients is to think about what problems they are trying to address and the questions they may have about those issues. Then, keep your communication as close to those points as possible. 

Many customers want you to go beyond filling a pressing need. As experts in your field, assist the customer in understanding the options they have to improve their design. You can also point them to various technical resources or offer support in your dedicated business portal.

5. Convey Your Expertise

Clients want to know that they are awarding their business to a company with the expertise to get the job done right. Part of building relationships with clients should be conveying your expertise in a particular industry or subject area. 

Are there industry standards your business adheres to or certifications it holds that indicate expertise? Badges on your website and a page discussing these items will be helpful. 

You can also convey your expertise through ongoing blog content and white papers addressing various topics of interest. As prospects travel through each stage of the buying journey, this content can be pivotal in their decision-making process.

6. Go Above and Beyond

No one wants a client to have a poor experience. Your prospects will always remember the times you came through. And they’ll never forget the times you dropped the ball. In fact, just one poor experience can send a business client packing to a competitor. Going the extra mile for your clients can help preserve relationships and build your business. 

Happy clients will keep coming back to your business for many years to come. But they also help you get more business. 84% of B2B decision-makers begin their buying process with a referral. 

7. Build Long-Term Connections

Communication is vital if you want to build long-term connections with your clients. As your account reps spend more time with key decision-makers, they will develop a robust understanding of the customer’s priorities and needs. As loyalty builds, the client will see the value in sharing feedback, forecasts, and new opportunities. 

Strong client relationships take time to build. But at the end of the day, no amount of networking or personal connections can substitute for getting the job done right the first time and helping your clients achieve their goals. If you deliver excellence, you have the best opportunity to retain your current clients long-term and receive some much-deserved positive attention. 

Get the Customized Products and Support You Need

Doing business in today’s environment can be challenging. While some companies offer this type of robust client relationship management, not all do. And your business may require a time-sensitive or customized solution to achieve its desired goals and results. You need a partner you can trust!

Since 1997, Custom Interface, Inc. has been specializing in helping clients in a variety of industries develop ideal solutions that hold up in even the harshest environments. If your business needs custom wire/cable harnesses, reach out to us today. 

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