By Kailynn Bowling, co-founder of ChicExecs PR & Retail Strategy Firm.
Client relationships are the bread and butter of any B2B business. But in a world where your clients are an email away, it’s getting harder and harder to build client relationships in a remote environment.
While it’s easy to warm up your client relationships face to face, how do you handle these relationships remotely?
Consider this: 70% of consumer purchases are influenced by how valued customers feel. That means investing in positive client relationships can have a tangible impact on your client retention and revenue.
You want long-term success, and you need your clients along for the ride. But if you handle all of your work remotely, you have to intentionally build positive relationships. If you’re struggling to build positive client relationships in the era of remote work, try these five tips.
1. Get to know your clients as people.
Sure, this is business, but it doesn’t mean your client interactions have to be all about work! Get to know your clients as people, asking questions like:
• What country (or world) do they live in?
• What are their hobbies?
• Do they have kids?
• Do they have pets?
• What did they do last weekend?
You don’t have to quiz them for half an hour every time you meet. A casual question before you get to business will work wonders for building client relationships.
Since asking questions can increase your likeability, this can deepen your client relationships while building your social capital. Translation: Your customers will love you!
2. Agree on a shared tech stack.
Misunderstandings can lead to a lot of frustration and negativity in client relationships. That’s why it’s a good idea to get on the same page with your clients, especially concerning how you’ll communicate and work with each other.
Agree on a shared tech stack when you work with a client. For example, if you normally do Zoom meetings but the client only does Google Meet, you’ll need to adjust how you do video calls. It might feel annoying to add another platform to your tech stack, but you want to make it as easy as possible for the client to get in touch with you!
3. Squeeze in a little face time.
If you’re trying to build warm, positive relationships with your clients, make sure you show your face! Humans rely on facial expressions to socialize with each other (and science backs this up).
Make sure you get a little face time with your clients by:
• Turning on your camera during video chats
• Meeting in person once a year, if possible
• Adding an up-to-date headshot to your email signature or Slack
• Recording videos with Vidyard [[relationship?]] instead of sending long emails
4. Set clear, documented expectations.
Remember, misunderstandings and confusion can create tension in your client relationships. You want to minimize that as much as possible, so create clear, documented expectations with each client.
It’s also important to keep in mind that when building relationships with clients, it’s not just about one-on-one interactions. You need to think about the whole experience of working with them—from the moment they contact you until you complete their project.
To do that, I recommend:
• Agreeing on your working hours and general availability
• Having a written, signed contract for each client
• Establishing clear deadlines with dates and times
• Plugging your workflow into a project management tool, like Asana [[relationship?]], that tracks who’s responsible for what
5. Keep records.
Nothing’s more frustrating than a “he said, she said” scenario with your clients. To foster positive relationships, it’s a good idea to keep records of every client relationship.
The good news is that, thanks to remote work, you can document just about everything! Keep records on:
• Video chats (with client permission, of course)
The best way to do this is to get a customer relationship management platform to automatically log all of your client interactions in one place. It’s much better than sifting through your email for a client’s contact information.
Recordkeeping is great for client relationships because it helps you personalize every relationship, too. Instead of wondering which clients are ready for renewals, your CRM can alert you automatically. It’s the best way to have a positive, long-term relationship with each client.
Relationships take a lot of time and attention, and client relationships are no exception. Remote work can be more efficient, but it does mean that you have to be more intentional about creating positive relationships with your clients. Follow these five tips to help maintain great client relationships, even when you’re working remotely.