Everyone knows the story of the 3 little pigs. The story can also be relatable to Building Service Contractors. That is if the first little pig built his company on price, the second little pig built his company on product, and the third little pig built his company on relationships.
The company that built on relationships is the only one that is going to stay intact when a competitor, with a lower price and more services, approaches to blow "your house" down.
One kind of relationship worth cultivating is the kind that lasts. Every successful business needs a vast network of trusted clients. Here are 5 tips to help strengthen relationships with clients.
You must initiate the interaction to learn about a client. This may be difficult for business owners unless they can overcome shyness or discomfort in order to reach out.
While learning about your clients ask open ended questions. For example, when negatives come up, it is important to actively listen and restate what is being said as needed. If possible, take advantage of in person research which will allow you to watch body and verbal cues. It may be tempting to only listen to the position of the client and how it relates to your product, but also listening to their interests and values helps start a foundation for a strong relationship.
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Extend your reach by automating mass email surveys, and scheduling appointments at tradeshows and conferences your clients already attend.
Communication is the key to client retention. After learning more about the client, use the information you gathered to keep messaging and services relevant to your clients' values. Maintain clear expectations on all sides, by creating goals and involving clients in the process. If they are well informed, clients will not act rashly and will be aware of your progress and appreciate your plans to improve.
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Communication is not one-sided. Gain trust by simplifying how clients submit work orders and receive feedback. Technology allows those work orders to be automatically distributed, escalated, and tracked.
Brand your communication. This allows clients to constantly be reminded that you are the solution to their needs. Each time a client has a positive experience while seeing your name and image, it reinforces brand loyalty. This shields your company from competition with lower prices and more services.
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Have all client communication in one place. This can be accomplished with technology that automatically stores and facilitates communication. Not only does it simplify internal processes, but it also ensures each interaction can be used as an opportunity for branding and a positive experience.
Now that you know what your clients need and are communicating to them regularly, make it possible for employees to exceed those expectations. Employees and management can better reach full potential with the more freedom a company has with its operations. Efficiency is the ability to do more with the same amount of time. Depending on a company's scope of work or region, it can be impossible to reach each individual client and learn about them face to face. Find technology and create processes that allow information to be readily available for both you and clients.
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Mobile applications on your tablets or smart phones can add impact while proving performance. Samantha Snider, owner of ProCare Cleaning Services said, "Clients trusted us much faster because we didn't just talk about our quality control program and show them what an inspection sheet might look like and so forth. We actually could jump on our PDA and show them that this is a live, working, breathing animal and show them how it works."
It is through your service to others that the true foundations for successful relationships and techniques for effective resolution are built and nurtured.
Engage in dialogue to grow. I guarantee this will result in finding issues you were not aware existed. Emphasize issues in a positive manor rather than avoiding them by focusing on the problem, and not the person. The information you gather and record can greatly benefit both you and your client, which strengthens that relationship. This is an invaluable advantage you will have when it comes time to renew the contract.
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Keep an electronic record of reports that track deficiencies and past inspection scores. Electronic tracking is more beneficial than paper trails because it is simple to access and organize. When a client reports an issue and needs closure, data removes the emotion. A report can show that the issue has not been occurring as often as a client perceived, or it can show that the deficiency has been occurring, but you are tracking it and taking actions to improve. Either outcome results in a client with trust in the services you provide.
There is a power to consistency and listening. The first step is to create a plan for how to protect accounts. Now is time to substitute planning for doing.
About CleanTelligent Software
CleanTelligent is quality control software trusted to help build and preserve relationships. After dedicating over 15 years to advancing quality control for Building Service Contractors (BSCs), we help companies target four main areas: Quality, Revenue, Productivity, and Client Retention. Contact us to learn why janitorial companies worldwide trust CleanTelligent, the leading quality control software. Visit www.CleanTelligent.com or call (801) 375-0375.