Gone are the days when a bi-monthly or even a monthly call was enough to retain a client. We are in the times of — I want everything at the cost of nothing…yesterday. Wondering what you could do to not only retain but grow revenue from hard to please clients? In my experience across industries in the past four years, I’ve found that one can become a Jedi at managing clients if they abide by a few simple rules.
Always answer calls
I know how difficult it can get at times, especially if you don’t have the answers that your client is looking for. It’s tempting to just let the call go unanswered. But, in my experience, customers understand that sometimes things go sideways and such situations cannot be avoided. As such, all they need is an assurance that their grievance is being looked into.
Keep apologies to a bare minimum
Being arrogant is never a good thing, but the moment you say the words — I’m sorry, you immediately hand over the power to the client and put yourself in a compromising position. Instead, use empathy, to make the client understand the issue and the steps being taken to correct it as well as prevent it from occurring again. In the long term, clients would appreciate that instead of pulling the same old sorry face, you were actually a problem solver to them. This will help you maintain a position of trustworthiness and reliability, without having to sacrifice your right to an equal say.
Know your customer
This takes a moderate amount of research, but knowing your customer’s business cycle as well as nature of business goes a long way in forecasting revenue generated as well as designing processes to cope with any situations that may arise.
For example, at Instamojo, we deal with a lot of seasonal merchants who conduct massive business during a couple of months and do close to nothing for the rest of the year. So knowing the months of business not only helps in sales forecasting but assists in developing a pro-active approach in providing better service as well as stay ahead of the competition.
Know your competition
Know what your competition is offering, to whom and for how much. We have all had clients that have come to us with seemingly unreasonable requests, claiming that the competition is doing it for them. In such cases, knowing what our competitors are up to not only helps in negotiating a win-win deal but ensures that we are not caught off guard. Read as much as possible, about your competitors and about your industry.
This is perhaps the most important of all. If you make a promise to a client, make sure you deliver the same. If you cannot do something, make sure you clearly communicate the same. If you can do it sometime down the line, ensure you have plenty wiggle room in the timelines you commit. Nothing breaks a relationship faster than making commitments and not delivering. It may be easier at the time to just say yes and get over with it, but it does not work out well for anyone in the long run.
Finally, have fun and always remain calm no matter what. Easier said than done, right? Maybe initially, but once you understand that there’s no use fretting over something you can’t fix, you’ll reach zen mode. Cheers!