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6 Steps to Fix A Bad Client Relationship

6 Steps to Fix A Bad Client Relationship

You’ve worked incredibly hard in order to properly structure and build your business. The word of your services has managed to spread conveniently and you get one gig after another by increasing your customer list. However, that’s when something bad happens – your relationship with a certain client goes south. For some reason, you have disappointed the client and the things are going in the wrong way. Regardless of the reason, the most important task that you now have at hand is to properly mend your relationship. Otherwise, you are actually risking of the word to spread which could cause an avalanche of lost customers.

So, how do you do it? How do you fix a relationship which is obviously broken? Luckily for you, nothing’s ever truly lost. We have 6 steps that you can take into account in order to heal the damaged relationship and get things back to normal. So, without any further ado, let’s go ahead and take a quick look.

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1. Recognize the issue.

The first thing that you need to do is to identify the causes which led to the broken relationship. This is particularly important. It’s going to show you the path that you need to undertake in order to begin coming up with a plan to repair the relationship. Regardless of whether there is guilt involved or not, you need to make sure that you know where you stand so that you can move forward with getting the relationship thoroughly fixed. Think of this as building the foundations for your upcoming strategy.

2. Don’t let your ego stand in the way and apologize.

Regardless of whether you are the one who’s faulty of damaging the relationship or it was clearly something that the client did – you need to step up. Come forward, swallow your ego and offer a kind apology. This is particularly critical. The fact of the matter is that this is nothing but business and you can’t let emotions, let alone particularly unhealthy things like ego cloud your judgment and stand in the way of you and your clients. This isn’t your own private life so there is no place for ego or pride.

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3. Do not talk down to them.

This goes out to the majority of industries and especially to the recently outburst IT sector. The truth is that you are definitely more aware of what is it that you do than your client – that’s why he’s using your services. But you don’t need to point that out unless it is absolutely necessary. In fact, you should treat them with tremendous amount of respect and never approach them as people who don’t have an idea of what’s going on. That’s a sure deal-breaker and if your relationship is already damaged, that’s one of the cornerstones of your attempts of fixing it.

4. Respond in-kind and timely.

Another thing that gets quite a lot of client relationships on the wrong track is failure to communicate in a timely manner. Regardless of how many clients you have, every one of them should be your priority and if you want to properly fix the relationship with one that you’ve messed it up with, you need to put an emphasis on that fact. Do not delay your answers unless you have a good reason for it – communicate clearly and efficiently – that’s what the client wants. That’s what you should provide him with. You need to show your client that he is of high value to your company, regardless if he really is or not.

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5. Fix the real issue.

Sometimes the real issue might be hidden within a number of smaller yet particularly annoying details. Being able to clear your mind and seek out the main cause of the broken relationship is likely to be amongst the most important things that you have to take into account. With this in mind, if you manage to do that, you will definitely win back the trust of the customers for a few different reasons. One, you are definitively showing that you care about your relationship enough to fix the issue on your own and two, you manage to identify critical issues, regardless of how well they are hidden.

6. Acknowledge it when you aren’t right.

This is once again an issue which is tightly related with pride and ego. Once a business starts to run well and to perform properly, there is a very common problem: managers and owners begin to feel as if they are better than their customers. They fail to understand that the only reason for which they are capable of being in the position they are is because of the client in the first place. When you are wrong, you are wrong. Holding to a position out of stubbornness or pride and ego is something that is going to get you on the downhill with a tremendous amount of speed. Keep that in mind.

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Maintaining sound relationships with your customers is without a doubt a top priority. However, regardless of how hard you try, there are inevitable circumstances which are going to rough up the journey quite good. That’s when you need to stand stable on your feet, hold on to your policies and do whatever you can to place the wheels back on track.

Sometimes team involvement is inevitable even if it requires communication only with you, not the client. Review the project plan communicated with the client and gather input from every resource. (Handy Tip: For companies using Microsoft Project and Oracle Primavera P6 there are project viewing solutions – Project Viewer and PrimaveraReader, respectably to make sure anyone is allowed to view and analyze organizational change plans without purchasing costly licenses). I believe read only viewers for other project management software solutions are also available.

The most important thing that you need to understand is that the responsibility to mend your working relationships with clients is yours and yours alone. The client can go ahead and replace you with some other company because, let’s face it―the competition is fierce. Even though one client doesn’t make a firm, this might set the stage for more potential complications of the kind and that’s something that you just can’t have. That’s why you should try hard in order to fix every relationship which may have gone south. This way you can guarantee a sustainable business structure which is going to be successful for the long run.

Featured photo credit: ideationkings.com via pexels.com

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Zuhair Sharif

Digital Marketer

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

More to Motivate Your Team

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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