Relationship management touches every aspect of the business—from how you answer the phone to how you bill your clients. Create a client service policy for your firm and make sure every person on staff understands their role in relationship management.
Effective client service teams analyze their existing client relationships across every functional unit of the organization. Here are a few things to consider:
Staffing: Where ever possible, try to staff a team that mirrors that of the client and encourage everyone to develop relationships with their counterparts at the organization. Positive impressions don’t rest in the hands of a single person. Everyone on the team should be part of strengthening the client relationship.
Billing: Evaluate your billing process from the standpoint of your client. Do your bills go to the right internal contact? Are they formatted in a way that makes it easy for your client to process? Or do your bills frustrate your clients by providing too little or too much detail? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, ask.
Marketing: First impressions today are not always in person. They are online, often before any face-to-face interaction takes place. Today, a firm’s website is where a first impression is established. What does your website say about the firm? Is the content up to date? Does the look and feel of the site reflect the strongest attributes of the firm? For more on this topic, read, “When is a website more than a website?”
IT: Bring your IT professionals into the client team fold and evaluate what resources are available to support the goals of the team. Look at what internal resources you currently leverage to improve the overall efficiency in the way you work. Client extranets, simple project management software and experience databases can provide invaluable differentiators to support the development of the client relationship.
For more information about client relationship management, check out my article, “Lessons from the Trenches: Client Service Teams.”