Ah, relationships. We can’t live without them, and we certainly can’t live without them in business. Relationships are the cornerstone of any good business.
And to have long-lasting client relationships, you have to put in the work as a business owner. If you do, you’ll not only attract great clients to work with, but you’ll keep them coming back for more projects and referring business to you.
So what does it take to build a relationship and make (and keep) a client smack happy?
Going the Extra Mile
Even if you have a long list of clients you’re working with, each client wants to feel like they’re a top priority. So make them feel special by valuing their business, their ideas, and their opinions. Ensure that you are meeting their specific needs during the project and are taking care of what they’ve entrusted you with. And listen.
Take time at the beginning of the working relationship to let your client know that you hear them and want to turn their ideas into something that works for them. You can do this by creating discovery materials for your client to fill out with things they love or don’t love and things that inspire them. A resource like this can go a long way in showing your client that you want to get to know them. Then talk through their ideas with them and show them that you “get it.”
We do this at Smack Happy Design by taking the time to understand our clients’ personalities, so we can create websites that truly represent who they are. It’s how we’ve gotten the reputation of going the extra mile. It may take time upfront, but it builds trust in the long-run.
And when you have a client’s trust, the working relationship becomes a real partnership.
Helping Your Clients Connect with Their Clients
Your clients have clients too. And they want to make sure they’re doing everything in their power to keep their business going and their clients happy. So think of some ways you can help them out with that. When it comes down to business, most people are looking to save time.
Businesses don’t often have in-house support or time to complete specific tasks or projects. That’s why they go looking for an outside vendor – you. They want a professional who can help them with a particular aspect of their business so they can spend the rest of their time either working in their business on client projects or on their business getting more clients.
At Smack Happy, we aren’t afraid to tell our clients that we can do it all. Yes, we create websites, but we also help our clients with their digital marketing and content creation. Ultimately, we’re helping them increase website traffic and bring in qualified business leads. We’re also saving them time so they can get back to business and focus on doing work they love. By working to help our clients and their clients too, we’re going above and beyond. That makes someone want to keep working with us long after a project is completed. And if you can keep that relationship going, do it. You might find that you even become part of their team.
Communicating Clearly, Gently, and Consistently
Clear communication throughout the working relationship is key to keeping clients happy and coming back for more work. Having clear processes and procedures in place helps to make communication flow that much easier. Clients want to know that they’re being taken care of and, to do that, you have to keep them informed throughout the entire process. Update them consistently and promptly, and provide feedback and recommendations with care.
One way you can do this is by setting expectations upfront along with gentle reminders throughout the project. Part of communicating clearly is to let your clients know what you’re recommending and why. Because it’s one thing to communicate with your clients, but it’s another thing to include them in the process. We recommend the latter.
And don’t forget to check-in with your clients to see how they prefer to be communicated with. If you’re working with someone who is busy, go ahead and schedule out meetings ahead of time, with an agenda, so they know what to expect. You can also ask them which communication channels they prefer. Maybe you have one client who likes to email and another who prefers to hop on the phone. Small check-ins like these show your clients that you’re thinking of them.
Giving Clients Education Opportunities
It’s important to empower your clients. In the case of websites, we want to make sure our clients feel confident knowing how to update their website and make tweaks on their own after we’ve launched their project. So we teach them how to do it, and they appreciate us for that. Over time we’ve learned that most clients know what they want, but they don’t know how to execute it.
If it’s something cool that they just can’t do, who are they gonna call? The professionals.
It’s our job to teach our clients how to do things. Let’s say you worked together on a technical aspect of a project, and you showed them how to do it – you can keep those notes in a shared drive or folder that they can easily access and reference when they need to.
They’ll appreciate having that shared knowledge but will most likely keep working with you so you can do it for them. It’s about getting under the hood for them, so they can understand what you’re doing. So keep that dialogue going with them. Share helpful content that you think they may find valuable. Guide them, be patient, and allow them to become part of the process.
At the end of the day, it’s all about putting your clients first. When you choose to implement practices that feel good for you, your clients, and your business, you can keep your clients engaged and onboard to keep doing business with you. And remember, consistency is key!
Show up for your clients, and they’ll show up for you. We bet they’ll be smack happy about it.
And here’s a go-to resource with some quick tips and templates that you can start to implement in your own business to keep your clients’ happiness level at an all-time high.