28 June 2018

How to build better client relationships

We’ve talked before about the steps to building a successful business strategy. A core part of this strategy involves building strong relationships with clients and customers. 

Developing broader and deeper relationships can improve your long term business prospects by building loyalty and trust. It also costs considerably less to maintain an existing client relationship than to win a new client, so can reap significant longer term rewards.

People buy people

Business is personal and people choose to do business with people that they like. Those that develop successful, long-term relationships with their clients tend to become a trusted adviser and confidante. If you become a trusted adviser to your key clients, they are likely to bring repeat business, send you referrals, seek your advice on strategic issues and pay their bills on time.

Liking someone is not enough to keep the relationship going long term though. It takes a lot of time and effort to make client relationships work year after year. As such, you should ensure that you are focusing on developing the right relationships. Start by focusing on your key clients - those that send you the most work, have the potential to send more business your way and, most importantly, are profitable.

Put in the planning and preparation

Once you have identified your key clients, create a 12-month plan which considers how you are going to develop that relationship. Focus on how you can add value to them, from the client’s perspective. 

Schedule regular catch up meetings or calls with your clients. Hold regular performance reviews to give you both chance to give feedback and share new ideas. If applicable, offer some free training sessions or free product trials. Most importantly, make sure you understand your client’s expectations and ensure that you always deliver to, or exceed those expectations.

Customer relationship management

One way of actively managing client relations and making all of the above as easy as possible is to invest in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. 

CRM software helps you organise all the contact and interaction with your clients. You can record key conversations, things they have shown an interest in and even diarise little touches such as birthdays or work anniversaries. It can improve efficiency, productivity, communication and regular communication with your clients, offering them better service and ultimately increasing your sales.

A CRM system that is compatible with your cloud-based accounting platform offers added benefits. Your invoices and bills live in the accounting system, your prospect and customer information lives in your CRM. Integrating the two gives you a complete picture of your business from early prospect communication, through the sales process to invoicing and payments.

CRM and Xero – the perfect match 

There are two leaders in the market when it comes to CRM/Xero integration - Insightly and Capsule

Both offer a 'try-before-you-buy' trial period and neither will lock you in for a set contract, leaving you free to organise your sales and lead management, project management, communication and reporting.

Making this software part of your weekly, daily and monthly reporting system will help your business focus on moving from being reactive to being more proactive. Your clients will value this and your business relationship should continue to prosper as a result.

Want to build better client relationships?

RWB understands that if your business wants to continue to be successful it needs to make sure its relationship with its clients is the best it can be. Contact our Xero Platinum Partner team today on 0115 964 8888 or email enquiries@rwbca.co.uk to chat through your options.

The views provided in this article are for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article represents advice of any nature whatsoever. Accordingly, RWB CA Limited does not accept any liability or responsibility for the information contained in this article or any decision or other action that may be taken in reliance upon the information contained within it. RWB CA Limited accepts no responsibility for any errors of fact or opinion and assumes no obligation to provide you with any changes to its assumptions.