Ring…ring…ring…it’s a sound we all hear throughout the day but to some it can be the thing you dread most. Whether it’s your wife calling, knowing you forgot to take out the garbage, or your supervisor asking for that report you knew was due the day before—it’s not a good feeling. But good news, there is a way to get out of those situations, and yes it works on spouses too! It’s having a strong relationship.
Relationships are more important than most people realize and as we continue to move towards the future they are only going to become more important. Since none of us can stop the future from approaching (unless you have a DeLorean) we move forward every day. But, do our relationships? When you can get the same product from two different companies just as fast and for the same price, which do you choose? You choose the one you know, the one you trust.
I recently listened to Franchise Partner Dee Boykin explain the value of strong relationships and his experiences with them, both what worked and not so much. Having a relationship with our clients can be the difference between losing that client over a simple mistake, to receiving forgiveness for the biggest. Relationships allow us to stump our toes and move on without fear of client retaliation or losing the client altogether. And a strong relationship can be your “get out of jail free card” for those colossal mistakes we wish we could forget. But, just like the board game, there are only a limited number of those in the deck.
The key to building those relationships is person-to-person communication with decision makers leading the way. Some clients prefer to talk electronically, others over the phone, some face-to-face, but the same two things occur no matter what the method of communication is—person-to-person.
All clients want is someone who cares about their business the same way they do, who doesn’t feel like they are a burden when asking a question. The responsiveness of how we answer a client or how we deliver their reports says a lot about how we care. If you ask someone a question and never hear anything back how does that make you feel? The client would feel the same way, only worse because they pay us!
The client is the reason we are here. You should always respond as soon as you can. It doesn’t have to be the answer but a simple “I’m working on it, I’ll get back with you later today” can go a long way. And if you say you are going to get back with the client—follow through. It’s worse than being ignored if you can’t follow up on what you said you would do.
If you listen to what the client says and respond timely showing that you care, your relationship can only grow stronger. So the next time you hear that ring…ring…ring…, remember that’s your chance to build on the relationship and handle the call with excellent client service. And know that you don’t have to wait until the phone rings—be proactive and contact the client first. Communication works both ways. What can you do today to build on your client relationships?
Austin is a senior associate in franchise services at HORNE LLP where he primarily serves the franchise team by building strong teams and standardizing training. He understands that building strong relationships starts with excellent client service and is leading his team to make every touchpoint great.