Do’s and Don’ts for keeping top clients
You’ve gotten started as a Virtual Assistant (VA) and you’re loving your work and your clients! You’ve even acquired some top anchor clients you’ve developed meaningful relationships with and are excited to continue to serve. At this level, you’re starting to build your brand and your reputation in the industry, so it’s imperative to make each client’s experience the best it can be.
Part of that is knowing how to keep those relationships humming along, and working them into your practice. Here are some tips we’ve used in our own businesses to keep the opportunities coming in, the clients happy and the positive momentum going.
DON’T: Forget to onboard effectively
You’ve finally signed that elusive dream client! After celebrating, it’s time to guide your client through a seamless on-boarding process that helps you two get to know each other, communicate effectively and focus on knocking projects off their to do list, not bumbling around trying to find each other’s contact information or waiting for paperwork to be signed. If you haven’t optimized your on-boarding process down to a science, now is the time to do so, since solving these issues will improve your professional image greatly and increase your client’s confidence in your abilities.
Bonus: Subscribers to the VA Studio can download our Ultimate On-boarding Bundle.
DO: Treat your client’s business as your own
Sure, your clients are sources of steady work and income that allow you to stay in business, and you’re passionate about providing high quality service in return. You’ve refined your customer experience and have perfected providing stellar customer service without getting stressed out. But what could you be doing to ensure your clients are even more successful, and even more delighted with your partnership?
Pro tip: When your top clients are successful, you become even more successful! So treat them accordingly. Think about how you feel when you’re treated like a prized customer, and aspire to leave your clients feeling this way each time they interact with you.
This means not just delivering work on time and on budget, but going above and beyond to spot problems, anticipate their needs and resolve issues before they become emergencies.
Wondering what this looks like? Just recently, Ashley’s client flew to New York from Australia, but forgot her business cards. Fortunately, Ashley jumped into action, grabbed the PDF template of her client’s cards, uploaded it to the online vendor, purchased the cards, and had them shipped express to her client’s hotel so she’ll have them when she checks in, averting embarrassment and inconvenience for her client. (Of course, Ashley added the cost of the cards to her client’s monthly invoice). This is just one scenario where Ashley saw her client struggling and immediately responded with a timely, helpful solution that will be remembered long after her client hops on her return flight.
Read more about how to turn clients into advocates.
DO: Use an all-in-one project management tool
As your business grows, you’ll find it more challenging to juggle clients and ensure their projects are moving ahead on time and on budget. But you can keep them happy, yourself sane, and everyone productive by using a great project management tool to coordinate everything from individual tasks to entire projects. The trick here is to have one system you rely on, so you’re not attempting to remember where you posted those notes from last week’s client meeting.
DO: Be a loyal fan
You’re probably doing business with your top clients at least in part because you believe in the product or service they produce. You know that all-important social proof is essential to gaining traction, but difficult to obtain.
So why not help spread their message by sharing your experience with their company if you’ve had a positive experience using their product, posting a link to their podcast, or publicly recognizing their achievements? As entrepreneurs, we all need to support one another and your kind words will be valued by both your clients and their audience.
DON’T: Let mindset get in the way of maintaining a good relationship
The longer you work closely with someone, the more opportunities will arise for some small (or perhaps large) misunderstanding that may or may not affect your project. The details of the issue aren’t important, nor are anyone’s opinions about who is to blame.
What is important, and what will be remembered, is how actively you listened to their questions and concerns, then took action to find a workable solution. When a problem pops up, keep this in mind and stay committed to being proactive rather than reactive.
DO: Add your personal touch
People do business with people, not companies. So keep that human, personal touch at the forefront of everything you do. Does your client have a birthday coming up, or are they celebrating an important accomplishment? Maybe he or she recently sent you a referral or did you a favour. Seize the opportunity to send a small note of thanks, appreciation or acknowledgement, preferably in a card that will brighten their day when they receive it in the mail.
Actively integrating these tips into your daily routine could make the difference in getting more referrals to higher value clients through word of mouth.
Now it’s your turn – what are your tips for keeping your top clients coming back? Join the conversation here and in our Facebook Group.
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