In the world of business, a company is nothing without its clients. If you have no clients, you have no reason to be in business. It seems that this would be an important enough venture that corporations would spend a little more time emphasizing it to their employees.
Unfortunately, in this day and time, the majority of workers, whether it be in a fast food restaurant or some fancy high time fashion company, go to work with the goal of getting home as fast as they can. Most don’t give the client/business relationship a second thought.
This may seem like a grim outlook, but the rising number of poor customer reviews supports the theory. Below are some suggestions to keep in mind when building your relationships with the lifeblood of your company, your clients.
You Must Have Trust
The statement, “It’s not you I don’t trust,” is an awkward one. All of us have been on both sides of the statement. It’s what we say to our teenage son or daughter when they begin their dating life. Occasionally, we say it to our significant other when there is a co-worker we notice being extra friendly to them.
Other times, we are the one it is being said to. Either way, it denotes a lack of trust. It sets up uncertainty and insecurity. Every party involved lives with at least a slight sense of paranoia throughout the duration of the matter.
This is definitely not something you want to invite into your partnership with your client. There are already too many rumors and bad headlines of how corporations have messed over the consumer. This is not an opportunity to add to it.
Honesty is Indeed the Best Policy
If there is trust, there is honesty, right? Unfortunately, that is not always the case. There are quite a few business relationships where trust exists, but it is trust based on falsities. Not everything is going to be a bed of roses all the time.
There will be nights you had a family emergency, just didn’t have enough time to do your work, or simply didn’t feel like it. Sometimes, you just aren’t going to succeed in completing your responsibilities. Be real about it with your client. They have a life, too.
They will more than likely be upset, but they will understand and your relationship will strengthen because of your honesty. There will be times your client fails to meet their end of the bargain, as well. Being honest with them will set the example and make it easier for them to reciprocate the action.
If you are to have honesty and trust, communication is a must! You and your client must have an open line of communication. There will be a lot of great moments. There will also be several not so great moments.
Both you and your client must be able to precisely relate details to each other about each circumstance in order to be able to give each situation the attention it needs.
The consequence for lack of communication could mean the fall of the entire partnership and a loss of a customer and every profit they could have brought to the table.
There was a time when the business/consumer relationship was a staunch, formal, boundary ridden partnership. To exercise any attempt at informality or getting personal was frowned upon. However, time has taught us that in order to build and maintain a relationship with anyone, there has to be a level of personal informality.
Even the Queen of England would express sadness for the death of one of your family members if you and she were in a business relationship. Get personal with your clients. Respect their boundaries, but care enough to notice if they are having a bad day, when their kids birthdays might be, or if they are struggling to find the perfect Christmas gift for their spouse.
Let’s face it. We treat our friends better than our clients (most of the time.) Build a friendship with your client. Not only will it benefit both of you the way any friendship does, but it will make all the other necessary traits for a working partnership easy.
Clients are the air a business breathes. They are also people, just like you. Take the time to invest in the relationships you build with them and you are guaranteed to enjoy the return.