You’ve launched your business and you’re well past the early stages, but now you’re starting to grow and growing pains are tough. In the pursuit of growth, many businesses and independent professionals focus an exorbitant amount of energy on partner relationships and potential clients, sometimes leaving existing client relationships in the dust. But, you can maintain client relationships during your growth period, and you can do so effectively.
Josh Golden, CEO of Table XI, a Chicago-based digital consulting company, notes there are some basic ways to maintain client relationships while growing, and he outlines them below.
1. Delegate. You may be scaling your business, but you also need to scale your time. Take on the important stuff and hire someone to manage the day-to-day; you’ll never be able to take your company to a new level when you’re responding to 200 emails a day, but you’ll never be able to grow if your existing customer base feels ignored.
2. Surprise and delight. You’ve known your clients the longest – you should also know what drives them. Make them happy unexpectedly, with tickets, free advice or a phone call to check in. You don’t have 20 hours a week to allocate to client services, but you’d be surprised the impact you can make in a single hour.
3. Quarterly reviews. As you keep the eye on the big picture, are you missing out on business opportunities with your existing client base? Offering free quarterly check-ins with some of your most valuable clients can be a great way to not only ensure their needs are being met, but to ensure that you’re not leaving money on the table.
4. Client appreciation events. Table XI regularly hosts events that allow clients to learn from the company (and from one another). Sometimes they are as obvious as a summer “client appreciation party” held at the office. Other times, clients are invited in for workshops to learn about things like Google Analytics.
5. Ask them questions. How are things going? The importance of this cannot be understated. You can’t fix problems you haven’t identified, and you can’t identify problems if you avoid them. Even difficult conversations can be productive ones. If a survey feels too impersonal, pick up the phone.
And don’t forget…
Don’t forget your original clients – they’re typically a large part of why you’re growing, and they should never be forgotten. All too often, companies grow quickly and literally forget who their early users/clients/evangelists were in lieu of bigger fish that have captured their current attention.
As you continue to grow, revisit this basic list and make sure you’re still keeping your current clients happy before moving on to your next batch of clients or consumers.
Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses stay well informed in the fast-paced 140-character world. he rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.
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