Finding and keeping your clients is and has always been a prerequisite for running a successful business. However, while this always demanded a lot out of a business, in the internet era, this has been made even more complicated. While it might be easier to spread positive word of mouth, it is also much easier to quickly lose reputation if you cause extreme dissatisfaction with a client. This is why it is even more important to avoid some of the most common mistakes when it comes to your relationship with your customers.
One of the most important things that you can devote your time and effort to is the relation with your client. This includes a number of things. First of all, you shouldn’t promise things that you are not absolutely sure that you can follow through with your performance. Even though it might be tempting to embellish your abilities or give an unreasonably short deadline only to hook the client, the repercussions of failing to live up to your promises will cost you much more than you have gained. Disappointed expectations are a surefire way to lose your client and possibly earn a reputation of an unreliable business. This also includes charging hidden fees later on, and being less than honest with your clients in any way.
Apart from being completely honest, you have to offer as much feedback to your clients as they demand, and be ready to listen to theirs. If you are neglecting to inform your client on the progress of your assignment, or if you are just difficult to reach, client might either suspect that the project is not going according to the plan, or that you just don’t care about them enough to make room for them in your busy schedule. Naturally, either will reflect poorly on your company and yourself. Likewise, even if there are clients who like to offer much more instruction than needed and even try to teach you how to do your job, most of them are only concerned about their project and want to have a part in it. While this might be a bit obstructive at times, make sure that you take their instructions or recommendations seriously and to show that you value their input.
While you might occasionally run into a client who is unreasonable in their demands, or simply rude and unpleasant, you have to keep in mind that you have to keep a professional faÃ§ade, regardless of your true feelings. As much as businesses like to point out that the client is always right, the clients often actually completely believe that adage, and will not hesitate to act accordingly. Even though losing a difficult client might actually seem like a boon, their negative review of your business might do you a lot of damage, so even if you do feel that it would be better if you didn’t work together anymore, try to dissolve your relationship as gently as you can.