“Great partnerships stand the test of time.”

Acquiring new business is the product of effective marketing, whereas repeat business results from quality work and great client relationships. The key to business success, especially in the design industry, is collaborating with—and providing consistent value to—clients on a routine basis. Long-term and satisfied customers are likely to recommend dependable and outstanding services. Aside from additional work, clients can provide constructive feedback to help improve business practices. Of course, client retention has profitable outcomes, and business would be non-existent without brand advocates.

Tips to build enduring client relationships:

Meet Deliverables

An essential step to building and nurturing a client relationship is fulfilling project objectives. Meeting—and exceeding—customer expectations demonstrates the ability to provide an exceptional service. Discuss expectations up front and document all deliverables. Following this, execute and complete deliverables in line with the schedule. A firm that fails to accomplish established deliverables will not be successful in retaining clients.

Become a Resource

Providing expertise and becoming a primary source of information are appreciated by clients. By diagnosing problems, suggesting unique solutions, and passing on relevant industry information, clients will view you as a key contributor to their business and vital to their operations. These strategic efforts will help you become preeminent in your customer’s mind when referring to your discipline.

Honesty and Communication

Honesty and effective communication are essential in cultivating a long-term client relationship. Clients want to do business with people they value and trust. Effective communication includes the following: active listening, addressing concerns, explaining your reasoning, and promptly notifying the client about potential complications. Frequent, clear, and honest communication, whether via email or phone, eliminates surprises and allows the project to run smoothly.

Personalization

Take a personalized approach when interacting with clients. Clients like to feel that they are more than just a number or a channel of revenue. Ask questions and learn about clients on a more personal basis. Also, add an individualized touch to every interaction. For example, send handwritten thank-you notes and personalize e-mail communications. According to a 2017 Salesforce study, 52% of customers say they are likely to switch brands if a company does not anticipate their needs and personalize their communications.

Client Appreciation

Showing appreciation to loyal clients is fundamental for their retention and continued partnership. Going beyond a verbal thank-you shows gratitude for their contributions and eagerness to collaborate on future projects. Ideas for rewarding loyal clients include hosting client appreciation lunches and spotlighting clients on social media. Long-term clients should become a priority when conducting business practices and should be recognized for their loyalty.

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