Envisage your company, the recruitment agency you are building and nurturing day by day with care and attention, now take away your clients - what is left? You, your offices, your very competent staff, but you have nothing to do, no work to complete and no money coming in.
Your clients are essential to running a function and profitable business and their happiness of paramount importance to ensure you the security that they going to remain your clients!
Client management and account management is where the majority of this client relationship will be built but this mentality should be running the very veins of your recruitment agency. Each member of the team should have customer needs and happiness in mind with each correspondence.
What are the benefits of successfully nurturing a strong and healthy client relationship?
Your client is more likely to become a repeat customer; if the service and experience that they have received has been satisfactory or even better than that, they won't think twice about returning to give you their custom again.
You're less likely to get complaints or payment disputes. Clients can be difficult to deal with and manage once they are at the point of voicing a complaint, likely this will be dealt with by management, but if you're a startup recruitment agency, then that's likely you! Keep them happy and avoid this all together.
Word spreads. There's no better recommendation than that of your peers, it's honest and usually from a source that you trust, so when your clients go and share their dreamy experience of working with your agency with their circle of peers, your client base is likely to grow with referrals.
It also often allows for a little leeway; if there is an issue with an account or something is moving along a little slower than planned for a client you hold a strong and positive relationship with, they're more likely to be more patient and understanding, as their service is usually so high. Ensure however that the issue is communicated to the client as early as possible and explained by the staff member who holds the strong relationship with them.
Building The Bond
Quality and Consistency
From day one, provide your client with quality service and work. Materials and communications that are sent over should be professional and accurate. As a startup agency, get your protocol, materials, branding even all in order before you start your communication so that your client is receiving the same level of service and professionalism from the start. And the higher the quality of this, the better.
Communication should also be of a high quality, communication is paramount to a relationship's development and growth. If possible have account managers, but if you're not big enough to operate this way yet then ensure you have a system in place to record and refer to showing up to date detailed correspondence with clients. This will help you avoid email confirmations being sent twice, invoices being missed etc. It also pays to communicate via telephone once or twice, even if email or something else is the prefered form overall, actually speaking to someone confirms a bond even further.
It's The Little Things
These little things can often just boil down to manners or a smile. You speak to your client over the phone on a Friday and wish them a great weekend, or near Christmas and send them Christmas wishes. Jumping back a paragraph, this also comes down to clear communication, simply reaching out and explaining to a customer why something might be a day later than expected will be appreciated, even if it didn't really matter to them in the first place.
Going the Extra Mile
Taking the step from the little things to the extra things; if your clients are startups, send them an anniversary card or send a cookie to the office to mark the first whole year of working together. Inviting your clients in to meet face to face is a nice extra that often isn't required since remote working is so accessible now, but it's a friendly gesture. Any of these are likely to make your client feel appreciated and valued.
Building this mentality and approach into your company culture from day one then requires much less extra effort further down the line, to apply these practices to your client relationships. The rewards of loyal, returning and eager new customers will speak for themselves, plus, who doesn't like to feel appreciated!