5 Steps to Handling an Unhappy Client3 min read

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Gaining new clients is a huge challenge for any business, but that challenge isn’t over as soon as they sign on the dotted line. Turning a one time deal into a lasting partnership takes some practice, and requires a lot of skill and knowledge. When it comes to building these partnerships with new clients, following some pretty basic guidelines can make it a little easier. There don’t need to be any hidden tricks or illusions. In fact, it’s always better to just be yourself and make sure that the service or product you provide—and how you provide it—is top-notch. Here are five tips on how you can achieve this.

1. Be Transparent

This is important. When you’re onboarding new clients, walk them through your processes, tell them what actually happens. When they ask questions, answer them truthfully. After all, if you’re doing good business, you have nothing to hide. Being transparent with your clients builds trust; they see that you are fully confident in yourself and your team, and that will go a long way.

2. Set Realistic Expectations

We all want to impress new clients. After all, the goal is to ‘wow’ them so they turn into long term partners. There can be a temptation at this point in the relationship to over promise or sugar coat. Part of being transparent is being honest with your timelines and setting realistic expectations on your process and results. Setting realistic expectations up front will diffuse many awkward or combative conversations later. This upfront, honest style of communication, will show clients that their good results are your top priority.

3. Take Responsibility for Mess-Ups

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. When something goes awry, make the best of the situation. Regardless of what happened, or whose fault it is, take responsibility for it. You should listen to your client, let them vent about it, and then apologize. Don’t be defensive or short. Be understanding. Come up with a plan to fix the problem, and then put extra effort into ensuring that everything goes exactly how it should.

4. Rock the Delivery

Everything about your product can be great, but if you’re not delivering it in an equally great way, you may turn clients away from you. Whatever it is you do, you’re always going to be in the business of providing good customer service and smart consulting for your clients. To turn them into long-term business partners, you need to make their best interests your best interests. Don’t be afraid to challenge their ideas in order to improve the quality of work you can provide for them. Rocking the delivery will show them that they can count on you. And that’s all the foundation you need for a lasting business partnership.

5. Be the Industry Expert

Want to stand out in your field?  Be an asset to your client in more ways than one.  The best Account Managers know their industry and their client’s business.  It’s unlikely that your product or service can fix all challenges they face – so get to know others that can fill in the gaps.  Create valuable connections to content, industry news, cutting-edge products and other experts for your clients.  If you’re already there, take it to the next level by creating your own content to share with others.  You don’t ‘serve’ the industry, you are part of the industry.

It all comes down to being authentic and doing what is in the best interest of your client. Be your best self and own your expertise in the industry. If you’re doing both these things, then you’re already doing what it takes to turn your new clients into lasting business partners.