Let’s talk about success. If two businesses provide the exact same services for the exact same price and if they produce the exact same results, why would someone choose one business over the other? People skills. We all know how we like to be treated. We’re going to give our business to the company that makes us feel like we’re special. If you’re looking to grow your business, improve your people skills. Here are some things you can focus on to build client loyalty.
Be Solutions Oriented
Make their problems your problems. When you’re able to provide solutions to your clients, even if it is a referral to another company, you put yourself into an esteemed position in the eyes of clients. They’re more likely to continue to spend their money with you and they’re more likely to refer their friends, family, and colleagues to you in the future.
Develop Your Empathy
Empathy can be tricky in business. While you certainly want to make sure that you have boundaries with your clients, developing and using a certain level of empathy can make clients feel special. This is especially true in certain industries, such as law and healthcare. People who need a lawyer or a doctor are often scared. There’s something going on that they know may change the very course of their lives. Developing and using empathy can make you more approachable. Clients and patients are more likely to be totally open and honest with you if they believe that you understand what they’re going through.
Be Considerate about Their Time
Of course, your time is money. However, the time in your client’s day is sacred. Do your best to be considerate about their time. Try to keep on schedule so that your clients can meet with you and then return back to their lives with little interruption. At the same time, don’t rush clients through the process. If you do, not only can it upset your clients, but you may miss extremely important information about their issue and the results that they’d like to receive.
Use Active Listening to Your Advantage
Active listening is the process of fully engaging with your client while they’re talking with you. You can use it in person or over the phone. It can be used in web meetings. With a few changes, you could use the process when talking via email or instant messenger with a client. The purpose of active listening is to place all of your focus on your client while they are speaking.
- If you’re meeting in person, clear your desk of other client files or projects. This helps set the tone in your client’s mind that this interaction is all about them. For phone, web meetings, or email, clear your space of any distractions. Don’t multi-task. Only look at documents or websites that have to deal with your client’s project.
- Do not interrupt your client while they speak. You can take notes. However, let your client finish their thought. You can use body language or say things like, “Then what happened?” or “Yes, go on,” so that they continue to speak. If you interrupt, your clients may lose their train of thought or get frustrated. Save your questions and your responses. If you’re emailing or instant messaging with a client, read the entire message before you respond. If you’re not sure that they’re done explaining, you can use the same phrases. Just remember that written communication can involve your client implying tones that aren’t part of your response.
- Stay tuned in to what is being said. Don’t think about your response. Don’t think about your potential solution. Listen to everything the client says. If you don’t, you could miss something important that would change your response or your plan.
- Ask clarifying questions. Once your client is finished speaking, ask any clarifying questions you have. This is important because it helps ensure that you and your client are on the same page. If you don’t have questions, say, “Let me make sure that you and I are on the same page. Your problem is X and you want to know X. Is that right?” If they say yes, then you can move on and explain your game plan.
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