Small Business Brief


The Complete Guide to Building Client Relationships That Last

Building client relationships helps create a more positive experience for everyone who interacts with your business.

Positive experiences build loyalty and increase sales. Research shows customers spend 140% more when they have positive experiences with a company compared to those who have negative experiences.

Those customers with positive experiences also tend to stick around for 5 years longer compared to people who had bad experiences.

Investing in building customer relationships can save your company money by holding onto customers. You may also increase the amount of each sale and your overall profits.

Follow this guide for building lasting customer relationships to grow your business.

Build Your Company Culture

The atmosphere for your employees can have a major impact on the customer experience. Research shows that when a company excels at customer service, they have 1.5 times the number of engaged employees as companies that don’t provide quality customer service.

That engagement starts with your company culture. When your employees feel valued, they’re more likely to feel engaged and work harder. 

They also have a better attitude, and that attitude reflects in how they interact with your clients. 

Look at your company culture and employee satisfaction to ensure you have a positive foundation for interacting with clients.

Get Your Staff on Board

Another way to build relationships with clients is by having a consistent approach from all staff. Your clients may not always interact with the same staff members every time they call or stop by. Getting different answers or different experiences each time is frustrating.

Having standard expectations and keeping all of your employees updated on procedures helps with that consistency. 

Using tools such as Microsoft teams can help you communicate within your teams. This real-time collaboration can help team members share information that allows everyone to provide the quality customer service you need to build relationships.

Customize Your Approach

If you treat all clients the same, you give them no incentive to stay with you. They could go anywhere and get the cookie-cutter approach. 

Getting to know your clients lets you personalize your approach to helping them. They feel like they’re more than a number or another sale to you. That feeling encourages them to continue partnering with your business.

Offer Transparency

You have your proprietary information you need to keep private, but being too secretive makes clients think you’re hiding something. A safe level of transparency helps clients trust you, which creates a better relationship that lasts.

Transparency also clears up confusion that clients or potential clients may have. Do they truly understand what your company does? Do they understand the processes you use?

Being clear on these concepts increases the chances of them using your services. They know what you offer and what to expect from the relationship.

Be straightforward in your pricing and services. Sneaking in additional fees later is a quick way to upset clients or make them feel duped. 

If you use contracts with clients, ensure they’re clear and detailed. This ensures everyone understands the expectations and fulfills their duties.

Avoid Being Too Sales-Focused

You need to close sales to grow your business. But being too sales-focused when dealing with clients can chase them to someone else.

Customers know your purpose is to make sales. But they want more from you.

Being the typical pushy salesman tells your clients you only care about their money. You don’t care about them or their experiences. It makes the process feel distant and unpleasant.

Instead of trying to close a sale as fast as possible, focus on building relationships first. Once you have that trust, the sales come naturally.

Exceed Expectations

When trying to land a client, it’s tempting to overpromise results to get them to sign with you. But if you can’t actually deliver, those promises hurt you in the long run. 

Promising too much can set up unrealistic expectations. It can strain your resources and make it impossible to meet deadlines.

Offer realistic expectations and timelines, explaining any potential issues or things that may slow down the process. This leaves you room to go above those expectations to wow the client.

Going the extra mile doesn’t have to be something big. It could be delivering the project a day early, offering a free extra, or doing an in-person demo once the project is completed.

When you know your clients well, you’ll know what little extras will have the most impact. One client might be impressed if you deliver the materials in person. Another might get excited about getting a free extra feature they didn’t expect.

Communicate Regularly

Staying in touch with clients helps maintain the relationships over time. When you’re working on a project for a client, check in with them regularly to keep them posted on the progress.

If you expect any delays or come across any problems, notify the client immediately. Let them know what steps you’re taking and what solutions you’re putting into place to get the project back on track.

When you’re not working on a project actively, you still want to keep in touch with clients. Sending occasional personalized emails keeps you on their radar. 

Another way to keep in contact is to ask for feedback. You can do this after a big project or on a regular basis, such as once per year. It shows that you value your clients’ opinions, and it keeps you fresh in their minds.

Show Appreciation

You know how important your clients are to keeping your business running, but do they know how much you appreciate them?

If you don’t tell them, they may not understand how much you value them. 

Get in the habit of thanking your clients for their business. Just saying the words or writing them down on a hand-written card can make a big impression.

You can also reward them occasionally as a way to thank them. You might host occasional client appreciation events or partner with other local businesses to offer them freebies and discounts.

Build Client Relationships

When you focus on building client relationships, you grow loyalty and set yourself up for repeat business. The little efforts you make can make a lasting impression on your clients. Explore the rest of our small business articles for more helpful advice to grow customer relationships and build your business.