This is my “a-ha!” moment of the day. Every client interaction (be it phone, email, or in person) can be relationship building. Sometimes in small ways. Sometimes in big ways.
Also, the small ways can matter more than the big ways, and are easier to do.
To put paint to this idea, here’s an example:
In my work as CEO of a web design, branding and marketing agency, my role is NOT to lead projects. We have kick-ass project managers who are very good at that. But I DO reach out to our clients on a frequent basis for various reasons. Sometimes it’s to ask them how we’re doing for them and whether they are getting everything they need. Always these conversations are characterized with my listening, and my sharing some perspective or advice that will help them in some way (big or small).
Yesterday, I had one of these conversations with a one of our higher education clients. The call went very well and concluded with the client thanking me and saying, “If you guys ever need a client reference, you can always use my name.” That was a decent-sized relationship build.
Today, I had an opportunity to do a small-sized relationship build, that’s no less significant.
Now I know, from yesterday’s conversation that timing is key right now. I’m confident about my team being able to get things done in time. But I know the client is brimming with questions and thoughts about the project every day. Our project manager was out with fever and flu yesterday.
When I learned that the PM was going to be out again today (understandably so), I sent the client an email heads up to let her know. I reassured her that we are still planning on a “blitz” (internally at Gravity Switch) for her project this week (meaning we’ll have a dedicated team focused just on her project for 2 back to back days so we can make a lot of progress in a short period of time)… This is one of the unique ways we tackle projects.
Lastly, I said that if there’s things on her list that can wait until the project manager’s return tomorrow, that’s great. BUT, if there’s anything that can’t wait, let me know!
I made myself, the CEO, available to her in case she needed it.
But she knows I’m there for her. She knows we’re there for her.
That builds relationship.