Reflections on Growth in Business & Life with Lexie Smith – Season 3 Finale (Minisode) – Podcast Transcript
Episode 70 - Pitchin’ and Sippin’ - Reflections on Growth in Business & Life with…
Hello, hello. Today we’re going to talk about PR tips for creating and maintaining positive client relations. These tips are relevant whether you’re a service provider of any kind, from an agency owner to a coach etc. A founder or member of a product based business where you have to interact with customers and buyers or an experience based business or brand. Basically, if you are in the business of selling or servicing this minisode is relevant for you. So first off, what is client relations? Okay, so if you are new here, you may not be familiar with what I call the six relations of PR. These are the six different audiences that we cultivate relationships and opportunities with when we talk about air quotes doing PR and air quotes. So quickly. They are public relations, media relations, industry relations, community relations, Investor Relations, and client relations. Client Relations, simply put refers to your business or your brand’s relationship with your clients or customers. Okay, so let’s dive in. First PR tip or rule of thumb, client relations should be your number one priority period. Above all else, this means our clients, our customers get our attention. First, they get to know about things. First, they get prioritized. First, you know, you’ll see a lot of people, especially when they’re solopreneurs, or they have a small team consistently feel pressured to always find new business, because while they need new money coming in, right, this can cause them to often prioritize their time and energy marketing and speaking to outside relationships with for example, the public. And while these are absolutely important, I need you guys to understand that those who are your active clients and customers not only deserve you show up for them first, it’s actually strategic to do so as well. And that’s because when they signed up or bought in to your product or service, they decided to know like and trust you. And establishing that know like and trust factor is one of the most time consuming and difficult parts in getting someone to buy. So now as long as you deliver and do not break that trust your active clients and customers are some of the easiest groups to convert upsell and resell. And there the first act is qualified raving fans and hopefully referral machines. Okay, so hopefully, you’re with me now that we’ve established our clients are important. Now, when we look at how to make sure our client relations are strong as possible. There are three critical stages we want to look at onboarding, active client, and offboarding.
Let’s start with onboarding. When you are onboarding a client or customer, you are setting the bar for the entire relationship. Be thorough, and set very clear parameters around the relationship. This of course is going to look different based on your business model for a service based business. This includes outlining the rules of engagement. When will you talk how will you talk what are the start dates what can they expect for a product based business? This looks like providing clear shipping Information, providing clear how tos and make it very, very easy for them to know how and where to contact customer support. If you’re a, let’s say community based business, merge the two, right? So how do your customers know to engage within the community? How do they get started? What is okay? What is it? Okay? Where do they turn to for support? One thing that becomes absolutely critical in this stage that I want to highlight is responsiveness. When someone on boards as a client, you should be immediately communicating with them. What’s next, you can consider automating this process, or at least partially automating, again, this is going to depend on your business model. One of the biggest PR tips I have here is practice what you preach. And I’m going to give you an example, I’ll use my company, the PR bar, Inc. So when you are one of my clients, you get daily slack support from me, Monday through Thursday, during business hours, I am out of office on Fridays, and I am clocked off line by 5pm. Thus, unless it is an emergency, which not case, I have a different way for clients to communicate with me. I do not respond to my clients after hours period. And I hold this rule from day one. Because I know and I know this really largely from having done this prior to being a business owner, the second you break that, then you’re setting the tone for what they can expect and boundaries can quickly go out the door. Right. So my clients get an onboarding packet, the first thing when they sign up with me, and then we follow that up with an onboarding call, where we verbally talk through all client expectations. And if this seems overkill, because you’ve never done any of this before, I promise it is to both parties benefits, and sets up the relationship to be both healthy and successful from day one.
Okay, moving on to active client relations. Your active clients are your number one priority. And they need to feel like your number one priority. If you have important business news to share, they should get a personal outreach before you announce anything publicly. One of the biggest ways to make an active client feel under appreciated or unsatisfied is for them to learn about something important as the same time as everybody else. Okay, it’s really, really important to also be wary that active clients usually are still consuming the same content, at least publicly that the public or outside community members are seeing, right. So Instagram, for example. So if you just charged 10k for their service or a product they just bought. And then the next day you decide to drop an advertise that product to 5k. Be prepared and be aware that they’re going to see that okay, and be prepared to address it. For my product based business owners. One thing you can consider is announcing a sale or upcoming inventory or new inventory to your past customers first before blasting it out to everyone else. A simple way to do this is by segmenting your email list, right? Anyone who’s bought with you before gets a two day heads up, right? This is just one extra way to make them feel special and seen. Now I do want to talk about briefly what to do when an active client gets upset. My first tip is never respond to a client while you’re feeling any sort of heightened emotion. I actually have a sticky note on my desk that says in capital letters get neutral. Literally, I have this on my desk because sometimes even I need a reminder to pause before I send any sort of emotional or rash response. Okay, do you feel any sort of negative way regarding how a customer or client is acting or what they’re saying? Take a beat. Take a walk, get neutral, then you can calmly and professionally handle without your emotions getting in the way. Feel confident to put your business hat on because clients might step over the line right? So you have a contract and rules set up for a reason. But also remember that you’re also allowed To be human, and it’s not a terrible idea to have a conversation with yourself or your team about what types of scenarios are cause for bending up the rules. So an example here might be, let’s say you have a cancellation policy for 24 hours, anyone that cancels, in under 24 hours gets charged a certain amount, and a client reaches out and under that window, saying they have some sort of family emergency of any kind. In my opinion, that would be a scenario where I would advise put that human hat on and waive that fee.
Okay, so the last stage I want to touch on is off boarding. It is really important that you understand, goodbyes are typically not final, meaning once a client or customer has purchased from you, or experienced, whatever you have to offer, they are now walking, talking, typing sounding billboards of what it’s like to work with or buy from you. They hold the most impact with future clients, and can be absolutely make your break to your reputation and your business’s reputation. Knowing that pay just as much attention to your onboarding process, as you do to your onboarding. So for the PR bar, I do a few different things. depends in what capacity are working with me. But for my standard pop fizz clink package, which is my signature one on one coaching program for four months, I have a dedicated graduation call. Right during this call, we go over some what I call housekeeping items, I make sure they feel totally supported and totally wrapped up verbally, I then send them a follow up email sequence, I send them some goodies. And I make an effort to maintain a relationship beyond that day and beyond our time together. I mean, I mainly do this because I get really invested in my clients and I only work with them one on one and i i genuinely care about their success and who they are. But if that doesn’t come intuitively to you, here’s a little extra reminder that it’s also to your bottom lines best interest. This for a product based business could look as simple as sending a email, you know, this could be automated to an email check in one month after purchase to see how they’re enjoying it, for example. Okay, we’re gonna wrap things up with a few more overall client relations tips. First up systemized, to prioritize per usual, this will depend on the type of your business for the PR bar, I’ve created the Slack channel for clients only. I have further broken down the channels in that slack channel per category. All of this enables me to control notifications, and prioritize my clients outside of my general day to day inquiry inbox, right? If you’re only dealing with email, consider setting up a separate client only email address, or organize your inbox with filters and folders. You can also have separate phone numbers for clients, you can set up very specific call menus, lots of things you can do here, but basically set up your back end to differentiate your active clients from potential new clients. Next, here’s my motto. The client is not always right. But you are always professional. This is we’re getting neutral, like we talked about becomes critical. Also, we always want our clients to know that we hear them, see them and respect them. So put on those listening skills and truly tune into what they’re saying. Take notes of important feelings and milestones. So you don’t forget, because it can be absolutely hard, borderline impossible at times to keep track of all the minute details, the more successful you get, and the more clients you have. So if you have a CRM system, you know, add some client notes. If you have a notebook that works to write, write things down. And once again, I’m going to say this again, like that, too. And once again, above all else, your clients need to feel bold, underline, italic, that like they’re your number one priority to ensure this not only go the extra mile, but be mindful again of what you’re displaying publicly. If you’re not responding to them. Yet, they can see you’re actively promoting about taking new sales calls every day, then they probably have the right to feel that your new business is taking precedence over them. Right. So just be mindful of all of those scenarios. Oh Ultimately, creating and maintaining positive client relations are critical for your reputation vital to your growth. And if you can master the art of upsell and or resale can be one of your fastest paths to cache. Of course, as always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram. Thank you guys so much for tuning in. And I’ll be back in your feeds with a new episode next week.