Working in a client-facing position comes with a host of responsibilities related to managing customers such as getting invoices right, solving communication issues and making sales. This can make for a difficult job which is confusing at times. Some tips and tricks for managing your clients more easily include involving technology, meeting face-to-face and practicing communication skills.
Use the Right Software
The right software can make all the difference in how you manage your clients. You can find applications designed to help with scheduling, cloud-based solutions for access to information from almost anywhere and even invoicing software to help you keep track of everything. It is important to find software solutions which are customizable to your needs, work well together and are easy for you to use. For invoicing, it is particularly important to find a solution which offers a variety of payment options, detailed reports and integration of income types.
Software solutions can help you keep everything organized and even aid in communication by giving clients access to their accounts, by making a pathway for emails and messaging, and by letting you see the right metrics when needed. You can even find security features built-in to most of them.
Get To Know Them
While filling up meetings and emails with idle chit chat can frustrate your clients, getting to know the people you are working with can make the relationship easier to manage. This means understanding how each client works, what types of products and services interest them and even when the best time to contact them is. It also includes picking up industry-specific jargon when communicating with clients and reading the room to gauge how professional or casual a conversation needs to be.
Getting to know your clients also involves setting mutual goals for the business relationship and checking in with them regularly. Once you can sit down face-to-face and work out what is needed from each party, you can set the mutual goal of solving problems with your products or services and be on the same page. You can then check back with a phone call, email or in-person meeting to see if there is anything else you can do to help, offer a new product or service or just to make sure everything is still going well.
Set Up Face-To-Face Meetings
Setting up a meeting with a client to talk face-to-face is an important first step in building a relationship because you can get more from body language and tone than you can through an email or phone call. For instance, someone gruff and direct on the phone, may be more relaxed and chattier in person just because of the communication types involved.
These types of meetings are also vital to solving problems that a customer may have. Trying to communicate a complex issue through email, for example, can lead to a misunderstanding of the situation or solution and involve a delay in fixing the problem because of the time it takes to read and answer emails. Meeting in person, however, shows the customer that you have dedicated time to their problem, gets misunderstandings out of the way immediately and lets you work out a solution in real-time.
Don’t Burn Bridges
Sometimes, in both personal and business life, something small and petty can get in the way of a good working relationship and end up burning bridges. This can cost you more than just the one client because many prospective customers will seek out testimonials from past clients, get referrals from family and friends or have a good relationship with someone you have turned away. It is best to be willing to lose the battle and win the war, putting aside personal frustrations and pride to listen to and work with your clients.
Managing clients is as much about communication as it is about organization. You can use technology to help with both of those things such as providing a messaging portal or email address as well as having tracking and metrics tools to monitor invoicing, client accounts and scheduling. You can also improve your communication and organization skills through in-person meetings and setting aside the petty stuff.