Gone are the days when a bi-monthly or even a monthly call was enough to retain a client. We live in a time when our customers expect us to have everything ready when they need it. Wondering what you could do to not only retain but grow revenue from hard-to-please clients for customer success?
In four years of my experience across industries, I’ve found one can become a Jedi at managing clients if they abide by a few simple rules. Here goes:
Always answer calls
It’s tempting to let a call go unanswered now and then, especially if you don’t have the answers your client is looking for. But, in my experience, customers understand that sometimes things don’t go as planned and such situations cannot be avoided. At times like these, all they need is assurance that their problem is being looked into.
Therefore, never drop a call even if you don’t know what to tell them at the moment.
Keep apologies to a bare minimum
Contrary to popular belief, Sorry is not always the best thing to say.
Being arrogant is never a good thing, but the moment you say the words – I’m sorry” – you immediately put yourself in a compromising position!
Use empathy instead to help the client understand the issue and the steps being taken to correct it and prevent it from occurring again.
In the long term, clients would appreciate that instead of pulling the same old sorry face, you were actually a problem solver to them. This will help you maintain trustworthiness and reliability, without having to sacrifice your right to an equal say.
Know your customer
This takes a moderate amount of research, but knowing your customer’s business cycle as well as their nature of business goes a long way in forecasting revenue. It can also help design processes to cope with any situations that may arise.
For example, at Instamojo, we deal with a lot of seasonal sellers that have massive business for a couple of months but get close to nothing for the rest of the year. Knowing their months of business not only helps us forecast sales but also assists us to develop a pro-active approach that can allow us to serve them better and stay ahead of the competition.
Know your competition
Know what your competition is offering, to whom and for how much.
We have all had clients that have come to us with unserviceable requests, claiming the competition is doing it for them. In such cases, knowing what our competitors are up to not only helps in negotiating a win-win deal but ensures that we are not caught off guard.
Read as much as possible, about your competitors and about your industry.
This is perhaps the most important of all.
If you make a promise to a client, make sure you deliver the same. If you cannot do something, make sure you clearly communicate the same. If you can do it sometime down the line, ensure you have plenty wiggle room in the timelines you commit. Nothing breaks a relationship faster than making commitments and not delivering.
It may be easier at the time to just say yes and get over with it, but it does not work out well for anyone in the long run.
Keep calm and success on!
Have fun and always remain calm no matter what. Easier said than done, right? Maybe initially, but once you understand there’s no use fretting over something you can’t fix, you’ll reach mode Zen. Cheers!
This post first appeared on Medium.com.