8 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships

Weakest linkWe’ve all experienced the client (internal or external) who, for some reason, you just can’t satisfy. It’s frustrating – you deliver excellent results but they’re never happy.

Sometimes you can put this down to poor expectations management on your part, especially if you’ve played the “yes man” role up until that point (e.g. “Yes, absolutely, I think your envelope opening has great media potential…”).

There’s another potential reason though.

Little details; big impact

Consider: has your client’s entire experience matched-up with those excellent results, or have you fallen short in some areas?

Your client’s perceptions may be equal to the lowest common denominator in their experience – the weakest link in the customer service chain.

Confused? Let me explain.

This past weekend, I took advantage of Ontario’s Family Day to whisk Caralin away for a Valentine’s weekend in beautiful Montreal. On our second night we went out to a lovely restaurant in Old Montreal. The food was exquisite, the service impeccable and the atmosphere relaxing. However, the hotel bathrooms were poorly decorated and sub-par.

Did that bathroom affect the quality of the meal? No, but it pulled my perceptions of the restaurant down. All that work on food, service and atmosphere was undercut by a small detail.

The little details can make a big difference.

So, rather than shaking your head and wondering why your client is being unreasonable, consider:

  1. Do you return emails and calls promptly or do you wait to do it until later?
  2. Do you show up for meetings early or do you always arrive a few minutes late?
  3. Do you meet deadlines or do you often push them back?
  4. Do you constantly keep clients updated on progress or do you check-in occasionally?
  5. Do you stay within your budgets or do you frequently exceed them?
  6. Do you deliver high-quality products the first time around or do you expect others to revise them for you?
  7. Do you follow-through on tasks without needing to be reminded, or do you need frequent prompting?
  8. Do you deliver the minimum required but never go beyond?

Sorry to say it, but if you’re falling short on the little things like this, then stellar results may not be enough to salvage your client relationship.

Think about it. Figure out your weak link(s), and find a way to strengthen them. Little improvements can make a big difference.

What can you do to make your clients happier?

25 Responses to8 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships

  • Excellent article. These are very important details that many people overlook. Although, you can do all of these things right and still have a client that’s not satisfied. Especially in this economy where they want everything for nothing. The good news is, if you’ve done these things right, you have no reason to feel guilty and should feel confident that you did everything that you could. What more can you do? Fantastic points!

  • Dave, thanks for reminding us to take care of our customers. I would add “set achievable expectations” to the mix.

  • Another amazing post! You blog seems to speak to me every time I read it. Being a young PR professional it is really the little things that are easily overlooked that clients appreciate and are starting to demand in this economy.

    Thanks for putting this great list together as a little reminder. They are great tips to live by. I know the clients I work with appreciate it!

  • Dave,

    I really liked this. A lot of people are too worried about pleasing everyone and forget to do the little things that count. It’s really something that you’ll find others appreciate when doing business, creating client trust and loyalty.

    Thanks,
    Dave

  • Great points. I agree that little details make a big difference. Sometimes they make all the difference in the world! When working with a client, I always remember to under-promise and over-deliver. Don’t set your client up for high expectations only to disappoint them with mediocre results. Constantly pushing the envelope and going beyond and above what is expected of us will certainly be beneficial in improving client relationships.

  • Thank you for this amazing post! I think that paying close attention to details is very important for all professionals and especially those who work in PR. I was particularly impressed with your list of little details that can make a big difference in client’s perception.

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  • styletime (Roger Byrne) :

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    7 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships [link to post] . . .’Little details, big impact!’

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    11 years ago
  • ahmednaguib (Ahmed Naguib) :

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    RT @styletime: 7 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships [link to post] . . .’Little details, big impact!’

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

    11 years ago
  • maydbs (May Dabus) :

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    RT @davefleet: New blog post: 8 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships [link to post]

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    11 years ago
  • ericasteller (Erica Steller) :

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    RT @davefleet New blog post: 8 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships [link to post]

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    11 years ago
  • tumblemoose (George Angus) :

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    RT: @KursaalTom RT @davefleet: New blog post: 8 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships [link to post]

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    11 years ago
  • CFeeney (CFeeney) :

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    RT @ davefleet New blog post: 8 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships [link to post]

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    11 years ago
  • MaryMassey (MaryMassey) :

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    Reading: @davefleet: New blog post: 8 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships [link to post]

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    11 years ago
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    Retweeting @MaryMassey: Reading: @davefleet: New blog post: 8 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships [link to post]

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    11 years ago
  • ColbyWG (Colby Gergen) :

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    correction, great post by @davefleet, not @dockane (although he’s a great follow), that can be applied to life as well [link to post]

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    11 years ago
  • heatherhuhman (Heather Huhman) :

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    RT @davefleet: New blog post: 8 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships [link to post] #PRadvice

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    11 years ago
  • arikhanson (arikhanson) :

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    Little things make all the difference in client service. @davefleet reminds us of 8 tips to improve our skills. [link to post]

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    11 years ago
  • LaurenBan624 (Lauren Ban) :

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    RT @arikhanson Little things make the difference in client service @davefleet reminds of 8 tips 2 improve skills [link to post]

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    11 years ago
  • DavidSpinks (David Spinks) :

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    RT @arikhanson Little things make all the diff in client service. @davefleet gives 8 tips 2 improve our skills. [link to post]

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    11 years ago
  • dannybrown (Danny Brown) :

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    Nice 🙂 @davefleet ‘s 8 tips to improve client relationships [link to post]

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    11 years ago
  • lancegodard (Lance Godard) :

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    a most excellent post! RT @dannybrown: Nice 🙂 @davefleet ‘s 8 tips to improve client relationships [link to post]

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    11 years ago
  • katiek21 (Katie Kriemelmeyer) :

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    RT @dannybrown: Nice 🙂 @davefleet ‘s 8 tips to improve client relationships [link to post]

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    11 years ago
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