When we’re a customer in a shop or a client of a company, we like help, respect, understanding, satisfaction, value for money, action, friendly service … need I go on? So whether you’re dealing with a colleague’s or a multimillion-pound client’s request, you will have to satisfy these four basic needs: the need to be understood, the need to feel welcome, the need to feel important and the need for a comfortable environment.
So here are the top ten tips to help you meet those needs and guarantee that your clients remain your clients:
- Listen carefully to what they are telling you. Put aside any negativity or previous experiences involving them and focus on their current situation and issues.
- Remember (or write down) your clients’ names and points about them to refer to the next time you meet or speak on the telephone. This will help build a positive client relationship and positivity will likely be returned next time they have to speak to you.
- Always be pleasant, even if clients are not pleasant to you. Most of the time it is not you personally they are being unpleasant to; it is simply that you are the person who is dealing with their needs on this occasion.
- Graciously receive and handle any concerns, complaints or problems. Use positive feedback words like ‘I understand’ or ‘Yes, I see’ to show you are really listening.
- Provide service ‘above and beyond’ what they expect of you. So rather than ‘It doesn’t work like that’ or ‘We don’t do that here’, try giving them some other options to consider – things that will work or things that you do at your firm.
- Smile, even during the times when you don’t feel like it! The mark of a professional is the ability to be positive, friendly and helpful in every situation, even when your personal life is driving you over the edge!
- Accept their changes to plans, deadlines and bad news positively. Consider what you can now do rather than what you can’t. Remember, whilst it’s true they may need to know what isn’t possible, their real need is to get things done!
- Be proactive by providing suggestions and guidance. It’s not the one thing you do 100% better that will meet your clients’ needs; it’s the hundreds of things you can do for them just 1% better that will keep them coming back for more.
- Always do what you say you’re going to do, and do it on time. And if you can’t keep to an agreed deadline, keep them informed of what is going on before the deadline expires.
- Always remember: Clients are not the icing on the cake; they are the cake!