Success never comes easy for any business. For this reason, client interaction management needs to be done carefully and properly. Sometimes, you only have one chance to make a connection with potential clients before they decide to either engage with you or look elsewhere for a service provider, supplier, or project partner. Of course, client interactions, as well as projects or ventures, rarely go smoothly without any hitch, but the intention should be to better manage or minimize the pain points.
In this article, we will go through the common mistakes we make in client interaction management, along with solutions you can try. If you want to find surefire ways to make connections and nurture relationships with existing and potential clients, read on:
Try as we might, we cannot altogether get rid of pitfalls and mistakes when it comes to client interaction management. There are times when you’ll find yourself looking around and scratching your head, wondering where you are and what went wrong. Clients are integral to the success and survival of our brands, and the key to making client interactions and relationships work for us is knowing when and how to relate and associate with them.
The best that we can do is to prepare for anything that may lie ahead before we push on with a venture or project. By performing at our most excellent, remaining vigilant as a team, and being proactive and forward-thinking leaders, client interaction management could be achievable. Here are some of the pitfalls you may encounter, along with tips on how you can overcome them:
Ensuring that meetings are always documented, and corresponding meeting notes are properly stored for future reference is a key element in client interaction management. Meeting notes avoid mistakes, misunderstandings, and missed opportunities by leaving discussions with clients undocumented. This is especially essential in the early stages of a project, where goals, expectations, targets, and deadlines are agreed upon.
Overcome it: Thanks to advances in modern technology, furnishing meeting reports is easier than ever. With one click of a button, audio, and video meetings can be recorded and automatically saved. Even when you do not have a transcriber on hand, you do not need to worry. These recordings can always be revisited to be interpreted at a later date and help in overcoming any obstacles or common pitfalls in client interaction management.
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Making assumptions about your clients’ needs or expectations, in addition to how customer service should be conducted, can be the bane for any potentially successful business. You run the risk of wasting precious time and effort, not to mention ending up creating something that your client doesn’t like, need, or even want.
Overcome it: Ask clarifying questions and check for satisfaction before you begin a project and at different stages of it. Detail your course of action and expected resolutions with your customer and invite feedback. Doing this helps you and your team avoid miscommunications while also guaranteeing that you’re producing something your clients will love and delivering the kind of service that your customers are happy with.
Leave nothing to chance by storing all pertinent information in your CRM. Don’t be afraid or shy to ask questions about the project or client’s expectations. It’s better to be armed with every piece of information you can get your hands on rather than second-guessing yourself and producing something that’s the complete opposite of what the client requires.
There’s no better way of showing your clients that you do not value or respect them than missing deadlines and being late for meetings. Not only is this behavior in bad taste. It also shows clients and customers that you’re unprofessional, unreliable, and disrespectful, resulting in frustrations, disappointments, and stress. You also run the risk of losing precious business and ruining your brand’s reputation beyond repair.
Overcome it: Take responsibility for your schedule by keeping a detailed appointment book so you never have to miss anything important such as a client meeting. Set realistic deadlines with your clients as well, giving yourself and your team enough time to accomplish tasks and projects your clients may require of you. Take schedule- and appointment-keeping to the next level by acquiring scheduling software with your planning tools. You can use Gantt charts to create a visual representation of your agenda, which you can also share with the rest of your team. Make sure you all show up on time and well-prepared
It happens when you’re knee-deep in a campaign or project with everything up in the air, and you and your team are running around working on a handful of different things at the same time, that looping the client in at all times can take a backseat. Failure to keep clients abreast with the goings on in the project can give them the wrong impression and create animosity. It’s just not a good look. Imagine being made to wait for something without hearing anything in between. It can get a little nerve-wracking having to wait around.
When there’s a job to do, you can expect clients to be on edge. They’re always anxious to wait for the project or campaign and get updates about the progress. Going radio silent in the middle of things can cause your client undue stress and frustration. It can also end up ruining your relationship with them, possibly beyond repair, eliminating the possibility of repeat business. This behavior can show clients that you’re not committed to the partnership and that you don’t hold them in high esteem or value.
Overcome it: Make regular touch-base meetings a part of your client interaction management plan. It’s critical to the success of the project and your client’s peace of mind. Proactively provide clients with periodic updates using whatever mode of communication they agreed to in the early stages of the campaign – whether it’s email, phone, or in person. Confirm the schedule, prepare your presentation deck and other references, and show up early for every session. This shows clients that you’re not only serious about the project, but you’re also dependable and communicative and have a deep respect and great understanding of the client’s expectations of you.
We all tend to talk a big game, particularly when we’re pitching to a potential client, trying to win them over and get their buy-in. It’s all fun and games until you get clients excited over something you and your team can’t deliver after all. Doing so can damage your reputation, destroy your team’s morale, and turn off clients altogether. The saying “fake it till you make it” might work sometimes, but when it comes to setting potential clients’ expectations, it’s better to be upfront and represent the truth when it comes to what you and your team are capable of.
Overcome it: Truth in a presentation can go a long way in client relationship management. Clients will respect you more when you’re honest about what you can and cannot do, as well as what you’re willing to learn so you can eventually do something for them. Go out of your way to set realistic expectations to avoid shortchanging your efforts.
Flip it around instead. Underpromise but overdeliver. Listen to your client and take notes. Then, use these – with their hopes for the project and what they’re looking forward to – and elect to do a little bit more than what you promised. Go the extra mile. Add a little more value to your service by showing clients that you are more than capable and are worth their time, money, and trust. You can expect repeat and even referral business in the future.
As much as we try, we cannot avoid unforeseen, unfortunate events from blocking our road to success. Keep in mind that it’s not all your fault if something breaks down or doesn’t work out. Sometimes, you find out amid rigorous work that the initial vision for the project or campaign doesn’t quite pan out. You might run into bottlenecks, miscalculations, errors of judgment, miscommunications, or other misfortunes and think: “Maybe it’s better if I deliver the bad news at the end of the week?”
Overcome it: Much like a task management strategy where you complete the bigger, more laborious items first, consider prioritizing the difficult conversations first. It’s like ripping off the Band-Aid. Get the sting done and over with, and then you can move forward. The longer you let bad news fester, the longer you are stalled, leading to possibly missed deadlines and dissatisfied clients. You’re going to have to deal with it anyway, so choose to deal with difficult conversations as soon as you can.
Things may get awkward for some time afterwards, yet clients will no doubt appreciate your honesty and being upfront. Transparency, after all, is the foundation of trust. They may not like the news initially. Despite that, they will respect you for delivering it as soon as you’re able. Getting the tough conversations out of the way quickly gives you enough time to deliberate on the changes you can make to the plans, recalibrate your efforts, and adjust your client’s expectations. You can trump the disappointment with workarounds as well. This way, you have a resolution all planned out and ready to be executed as you deliver the bad news to your clients
Conducting risk management assessments can lessen the likelihood of a fallout while you’re working on the project. You’ll be better able to visualize challenges and blockages along the way and come up with contingency plans to address and combat them. Problems are inevitable, but with thorough and careful risk management assessments and planning, you’ll be better able to find a way to troubleshoot.
Being at the receiving end of unfavorable feedback can sting, especially when you’ve poured your heart and soul into a venture. However, one of the tenets of effective client interaction management is the giving and receiving of feedback. We’re not able to see the result of our efforts objectively at times because we’re not outside looking in. For this, we need to rely on clients, stakeholders, or external suppliers to provide us with clarity and objectivity.
Disregarding or ignoring feedback is a mistake, and refusing to provide the same is doing a disservice to yourself and the venture you’re working on. It shows that you’re not willing to listen or engage with a wider net of collaborators to further improve and learn, which can be detrimental to you in the long run.
Overcome it: It might not always apply or be helpful to you, but be prepared to listen to the client’s feedback. Parts of the speech may be beneficial to you, and you just never know it. Success is owed partly to continuous learning, and being receptive to feedback is one of the ways you can learn on the job. Take everything into consideration and use what you can to improve your work and create something that you can be proud of.
Client interaction management is all about maintaining a level head and neutral temper so leaders and managers can make sound decisions for the sake of client satisfaction and campaign success. Life will always throw things your way that will test your resolve and composure, and if you’re not careful, you can lose control and turn off clients from working with you altogether. There are few things more off-putting and embarrassing than a grown person losing their head at work and lashing out.
Being able to control your emotions and set feelings aside are hallmarks of a good leader, someone people can look up to. Letting our feelings get the best of us can cloud our judgment and cause us to act erratically. Managing projects, and even teams, calls for a certain level of maturity where one can separate personal from professional matters. Plans don’t always work out, and you come across stumbling blocks along the way. Overcoming challenges such as these requires a calm temperament and a sensible mind.
Overcome it: Nine times out of ten it’s easier to walk away from a situation that’s testing your patience. Respect yourself enough to always choose the higher road when you feel yourself begin to get annoyed or irritated when clients ask for revisions or anything that delays the progress of the project. Remember that clients and your team are not the enemy. Practice self-calming techniques like counting to ten, “blowing out the candles and smelling the flowers” and taking a walk out in the open. A short break is worth more than severing priceless relationships with colleagues and clients.
There’s no better way to show clients you care about them than listening to and addressing their concerns, questions, and complaints in client interaction management. It just matters a great deal when you know you’re being seen and heard, particularly if you’re a client. The same goes for the rest of your teams. Keep in mind that the whole team will stop working, and things will cease rolling along nicely if one cog is missing. Listening to and valuing concerns, questions, and complaints from both clients and team members can be tricky but guarantee your campaign’s success if done well.
Overcome it: Schedule regular check-ins with everyone involved in the project. These meetings can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes and can just be about concerns, questions, and complaints. Listen attentively, take notes, and consider each response before actually speaking. If you don’t have the answers or solutions right then and there, don’t hesitate to park it and get back to it as soon as you’re able. Validating your clients and team members in this way will not only make them happy and motivated to work with and for you, but they will also respect you more and value your input.
It’s inevitable that when you’ve accomplished your job for one client, a new one will sign up to work with you, requiring your client interaction management skills. The old client then becomes a thing of the past. A lot of businesses survive through word of mouth and positive reviews, though. There’s no way to know if one client might or might not need you again somewhere down the line. They might also need assistance or some form of follow-up.
Overcome it: Don’t be too hasty in discarding past clients, partners, or suppliers. Invest in relationships to show past and potential clients that you care and offer added value to any venture, establish your brand, and solidify your brand reputation as reliable, caring, and engaged. Communication is key. Check in on old clients from time to time just to confirm that they’re happy with your service or if they have questions or concerns about what you did for them. They might end up being lifelong supporters of your business or even friends, helping to spread the good news about the quality of your work and service far and wide.
There’s a lot of ground to cover when it comes to client interaction management, and you should have a long list of obligations if you want to do well. If you want to deliver top-notch client interaction management, you’ll need the best of the best equipment and software for the task at hand. Luckily, Bitrix24 has a lot of the tools and solutions you require.
Communications, task management, CRM, and other tools to assist you with effective and efficient client interactions are all available through Bitrix24. They’re all user-friendly, easy to navigate, and extremely helpful. Visit our website for more information, or better yet – sign up today!
The mistakes that should be avoided in client interaction management include:
Some of the common pitfalls of customer interaction and how to overcome them are:
Improve client interaction management by: