Every time I read an article on how to keep a client happy the same idea pops into my mind: these are not my clients! I do believe that my clients have evolved from these articles which often portrays them within a hierarchy that place them at the very top.
I often question why is it that we are treating our clients differently to our partners or best friends? Sometimes we find ourselves spending more time with them than our own family, yet still, we treat them as strangers!
I ask again why we don’t treat these connections as any other healthy, happy relationship?
In my experience keeping your clients or anybody else happy comes down to three basic ideas: communication, transparency, and engagement.
Communication: Or even better, dialogue. We are the experts, yes, but our clients also know what they want, so listening is key to succeeding. Keep the conversation light, talk about things outside of work, give a human touch! (And please try to talk about something different than the weather or your weekend plans)
Transparency: Always say the truth and be upfront! The more you delay the news the more awkward the situation will become. Face the bad news from the start, explain: “This might be a difficult conversation, but let’s try to turn it into a brilliant one!” because you never know what it will bring you. I have faced many difficult and honest conversations with the majority of my clients but this has led to us having very mature and respectful relationships.
Engagement: Keep them updated and make each conversation interesting, tell them about that fancy new tool that you’re using or that revolutionary product that you are developing. Ask them what are they working on, or perhaps struggling with? Make them feel that their problems are yours and obviously, that you could bring the solution to the table.
As we can see, this is not rocket science but I also believe that the easiest things are the most complicated to achieve, so let’s give it a go!