Keeping Clients Happy in Hard Times

By: Eva Gregory

We all face difficult times at some point. When problems come our way we can become so occupied "fighting the fires" that we forget our clients in the process.We must remember that our clients choose us, not the other way around. They see something in us of value or they would have never done business with us in the first place. When we experience hardship is the perfect time to validate the confidence they put in us. How can we do this? I'm glad you asked. ;)

  1. Be PROACTIVE and honest. Contact your clients and be honest about what's going on. Remember that all people face difficulty from time to time and that your clients are no exception. While it's rarely wise to tell a client the intimate details of your life, the more open you can be with them the greater the chances that they will empathize with you. Tell them you need their help. Chances are you'll find a friend.
  2. Communicate.

    Call, write a note, send an email, send a smoke signal! The method doesn't matter but making sure you communicate with them does. Now is not the time to become unavailable. Your situation may be as straightforward as a sick relative needing you to nurse them, but clients tend to imagine the worst. Don't make them imagine at all. Arm them with the facts. Return every customer call ASAP during this time.
  3. If someone fills in for you, oversee them carefully. Don't accept "Everything's fine" as an answer. Get the details you need to feel comfortable that your business is being handled professionally while you are away. Communicate with this person by fax, email, voice mail ... whatever it takes.
  4. Give your client a time frame. Allow yourself some wiggle room, but give your customer a date to fix on when everything will return to normal. This step alone has saved many a relationship. Giving them a time frame completely eliminates the tendency they have to feel that things are dragging on.
  5. Tell them your plan. Meet with them (face to face is best) and tell them what your plan is to resolve the problem. Ask for their input as well. You'd be surprised how many companies and individuals have seen the water's edge.
  6. Thank them when it's over. We're not talking a thank you card here. Find a tangible way to tell them how much it meant that they hung in there with you. Your clients are your business's lifeblood. Thanking them is an investment, not an expense. This is customer relationship management at it's finest. Its called making friends out of clients.

If you face tough times, use the steps above as part of your action plan. Inside every problem lie the seeds of its solution. Start with honestComputer Technology Articles, open communication and you can't go wrong.

Motivation
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