"Light Fuse. Move Away." Rules For Improving Client Relationships
I was looking at a pack of firecrackers a few weeks ago and noticed the very clear and simple instructions on the back: Light Fuse. Move Away.
Those instructions are so fundamental it seems ridiculous to put them on the wrapper. In light of the injuries suffered recently by some professional athletes, however, maybe the idea of moving away from a lit pack of explosives is not obvious to everyone.
And this is not just true for firecrackers. Other products have similar “you’ve got to be kidding me”-type instructions on them to help people who may be deficient in common sense. For example:
Iron: “Do not iron clothes on body”
Frozen dinner: “Defrost”
Bottle of rum: “Open bottle before drinking”
The same problem exists among professionals who are trying to generate new clients or grow the relationships they already have: we often lose sight of the obvious.
So if you want to keep your existing clients, generate more clients/referrals or build better client relationships, here are three fundamental “Care Instructions” to follow:
Keep your word: If you make a commitment, whether to return a phone call, set up a meeting or successfully deliver a $50M ERP integration, deliver on your commitment. Nothing erodes trust faster than not doing what you said you would do.
Be transparent: Don’t be afraid of sharing with the client how your business operates and how client decisions impact your success. If the client doesn’t care about your success it speaks volumes about the quality of your relationship and you have a lot of work to do to improve it.
Show appreciation: It never ceases to amaze me how often a vendor will complain about a long-time client: “They’re so demanding! They’re so difficult!” Yeah, but they keep you in business! If we don’t treat every client like a new client, they’ll soon be an old client. The competition is always ready to take your client away.
And this last bit of advice on the tag of a mattress: “Do not attempt to swallow.”