Client Trust During Uncertainty
The world is having a tough time at the moment – the global pandemic of Covid19 has created uncertainty across borders, trade and relationships. However, this uncertainty does not mean that everything stops. We carry on (personally, professionally, etc.) and adjust as needed until we find our new normal.
For many of our Clinked clients, our normal is working with clients and teams to achieve the results we’ve committed to together. The “how” we adjust can make or break those client relationships during this time of uncertainty – specifically due to trust.
At Clinked, we’ve been speaking with our clients over the past week to ensure their certainty about the performance of our cloud-based SaaS platform and have learned a remarkable amount of the resilience of our clients. We’re taking a moment to reflect on how they are maintaining client trust during this time of uncertainty and sharing these best practices.
First, we thought framing the importance of trust and client relationships would be a helpful place to start.
For many businesses this is how most client relationships kick off:
Prospect Meets Business + Transaction Occurs = Relationship Begins
This relationship between a business and clients once started, and even as it's starting, plays a fundamental role in determining the success or failure of a company. It takes significant business efforts for a client to start working with your business. Once a client, trust is built through a company’s ability to competently establish and maintain a relationship to achieve their shared goal - whether that’s through the delivery of a service or product. The activities to accomplish this shared goal will either break or make repeat business.
How to build strong client relationships?
Trust is a foundational aspect of client relationships. To build trust, two key components - integrity & communication - need to be developed through continual activities. This will be led by your business strategy and executed by your team, particularly with sales and client management, with your clients.
Inc. Magazine recently shared in an article Trust is as Important as Price for Todays Consumer that there are three key ways to build trust (1):
- Teach, don’t just talk
- Listen & learn as much as you teach
- Own up to mistakes & be authentic
Why is this important?
During uncertain times, it's important to have solid client relationships to help maintain a strong client base and know how to help your clients.
In addition, it’s been reported that 73% of clients considered transparency more important than price, with 40% stating they would change from their preferred brand to one which offered more transparency (1). Recently, the Harvard Business Review shared that “M&A strategies now concentrate more on acquiring firms with strong customer relationships – with all the loyalty and cross-selling benefits that confers.” meaning the importance of client relationships translates into equity value building as well (2).
Clinked Clients' Best Practices
We've been speaking with all our clients globally on personal phone calls, video chats and personalised video messages. It's been an opportunity to learn from them and their actions in the past weeks to work better for their clients during this uncertain time. To help enforce the above, we thought it would be nice to share the best practices we’ve picked up as trends amongst our clients leading the way.
Below are the 3 top areas of focus highlighted through our client conversations used to emphasis trust built with clients during this uncertain time:
- Communication: real time updates & availability
- Transparency: identification of immediate challenges & open discussions
- Self Service: readily available access to information reduces uncertainty
Is it too late to build client relationships & trust?
The above may not have been a key focus of your business or team. However, there is no time like the present to start. How to? Set the time aside now to reach out to your clients - segment in a way to allow your team to help & create a way to feedback the conversations (i.e. CRM, group docs, daily team video chat). The goal is to enforce your existing relationship, calm any nerves & address concerns, and offer to help.
You may be a decision maker or a teammate trying to plan ahead for the worst case. Regardless of your role, being agile and adjusting is a challenge - Clinked can help you evaluate the options to develop stronger relationships with clients. Our product is a flexible cloud-based portal software incorporating secure and mobile functionality for groups of people working to solve problems together.
As a secure, cloud-based & mobile software platform, Clinked can help work with clients better and we have experiences such as the above to share.
Curious to discuss more? Let's arrange a time to speak:
Good luck, stay healthy & be supportive of each other.