Beyond client services: when/how to be friends with your clients
It’s no secret that people prefer to work with businesses and individuals they like. At our Orlando marketing agency, we treat each and every one of our clients like members of our family because we aren’t an exception to this rule. Fostering a work-friendly friendship with your prospects can round out your client services experience and make your projects more meaningful for both you and your clients. A connection may start with something as simple as sharing the same alma mater or bonding over a networking dinner, and can radically transform your customer relationships. Here’s how.
How friendship supports client services:
Building a friendship with your clients can transform your day-to-day client services and allow you to work more closely with your business partners.
Friendship builds trust:
Friendship often leads to trust and allows you to be more open and direct with good-natured feedback, which in turn, encourages rallying together to overcome obstacles. When your client knows you care about them beyond their retainer fee, they can trust that you have their best interests at heart when you make recommendations or suggest a strategy pivot. This trust helps streamline your client services protocol so decisions can be made more quickly and work can be done more efficiently.
Personal vs. transactional work:
Being friends with your clients can also help you tackle your work and their problems in more creative and innovative ways. When a client shifts from contract to comrade, your work ceases being transactional and becomes personal. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself leaning into those follow up phone calls, creating a higher-touch client services experience, and caring deeply about the outcome of your clients’ projects. It’s not work when you love what you’re doing and the people you’re doing it with, so don’t be afraid to invest your personal emotions into your clients.
Keeps clients (and referrals) coming in:
When you and your clients are happy, chances are you’re succeeding together. As friends, you’ll get to know each other better and may find yourselves hatching new ideas, brainstorming new projects, and connecting each other to potential business partners, resources, and future clients together. Your clients will soon become your biggest allies, referral source, and cheerleaders — and you’ll be there’s.
Defining business-friendly friendship and flawless client services:
The key to building a mutually beneficial business friendship is to do it for the right reasons and in the right ways. This starts by layering some of the fundamental values of friendship into your client services practice.
Don’t be right, be helpful:
Bridge the gap between client and friendship by demonstrating that your first concern is helping your clients succeed. We know – and they know – you’re an expert in your field (it’s why they hired you), but don’t trade off being right when situations get sticky when you should be bringing solutions to the table. The first tenant of any good client services relationship is to be helpful. From there, friendship can naturally bloom.
Communication and transparency are key:
Even if you don’t have anything to share with your clients, or you’re still waiting on a project status update, feel free to pick up the phone and give your clients a call. Ask them how they’re doing. Find out how their other projects are developing. Offer to take them to lunch. And yes, we’re going to say it: overshare. We’re not talking about divulging the nitty gritty details of how your weekend went or who you’re dating, but rather, to go over above and beyond the required communication cadence. This sets the tone of your client services and allows your relationship to live outside of the immediate tasks at hand. You’ll find yourself wanting to grab a casual coffee together in no time.
Celebrate shared wins:
We can’t stress enough how important celebrating shared success is. Taking time to pop some bubbly or to send a client flowers after a major coup shows you care and increases your own investment in your client relationships. There’s also no better way to bring people together than in celebration. Bond over those shared feel-good moments by pulling your respective teams together and vowing not to talk about work for the night beyond the celebratory toast you and your client plan to give.
Don’t use friendship as a crutch:
Last, but not least, don’t use friendship as a crutch. Once you establish a personal relationship with your client, don’t abuse it by shirking deadlines or taking shortcuts. Your friendship should be an excuse to do your absolute best work rather than the bare minimum. And trust us, your client (no matter how good a friend they are) will see and feel the difference.
Give us a call or read more about the relationships we’ve built with clients like you.