Client relationships are fundamental to any business, but they’re all the more significant in coaching. Happy and fulfilled clients speak volumes for the service their coaches provide. But even for a popular coach, customer service is an ongoing goal.
Let’s go over why it’s important that coaches continually work to improve customer relationships, and touch upon the importance of communication. We’ll leave you with seven ways in which to maintain and elevate your client relationships.
Maintaining good customer relationships
A strong customer relationship is rooted in trust, open communication, and the free flow of feedback, both ways. To build long-term relationships, coaches must actively support the goals of their clients — cheering them on, giving them tools for success, and guiding them when needed.
Most coach-client relationships don’t start perfectly. To build successful customer relationships, we have to improve our technique incrementally as we learn more about our clients’ needs, goals, and preferences. This happens organically as we spend more time with them, but there’s another method to intentionally focus on creating a good relationship.
Encourage customer feedback whenever possible to zero in on areas that need improvement or confirm what we did well. Acting on client feedback demonstrates that we understand and value their needs.
Once you’re comfortable asking for feedback, incorporate it into the coaching routine. Remember, improving customer relations isn’t a one-and-done deal — customer success depends on a commitment to constant growth.
The role of communication
Another area that requires consistent effort is communication. This skill is the basis for building trust with customers, minimizing misunderstandings, and having effective conversations that encourage progress.
Regular communication can strengthen our relationships with existing clients and build rapport with new ones.
Customer relationships in business
As part of the customer relationship management strategy, be available for customer support. Put clients’ needs at the center, be an active listener, and find ways to be supportive. Make time to respond to inquiries and customer needs outside of real-time coaching sessions, but also be mindful to not waste time on unproductive communication.
In dealing with particularly needy clients, it’s okay to set boundaries on communication times or use automation such as chatbots or CRM (customer relationship management) software to ease the load.
Your goal is to give clients a channel to reach out. But as a small business, managing customer expectations and having a strategy to make the best use of your time is important.
7 ways to improve your customer relationships
Here are some ways to consistently make client interactions enjoyable and start building relations with customers:
1. Show commitment
It’s easy to do our jobs with just enough effort to see results, but this communicates to our clients that we see them only as paying customers. We should be committed to our clients and excited for them. To do this, we should pay attention to their needs and push them to achieve their goals.
2. Be present
Active listening and putting the client's goals at the forefront is the hallmark of a good coach. Demonstrate that they have our full attention. We can do so by maintaining eye contact while they’re speaking, seeking to understand what they’re saying, and then reflecting and providing feedback.
We could take notes to help organize our thoughts while our clients speak. The goal is to follow up on what they’re saying with relevant and thoughtful questions and responses. Nobody wants to repeat themselves, so actively participating in conversations is a great way to create a positive experience while coaching.
3. Actually care
The most loyal customers to a business are the ones who have a personal connection to it. That’s why it’s important that coaches are invested in the success of their clients and motivated to support them and learn the intricacies of their situations.
Understanding a client's frustrations, limitations, strengths, and weaknesses makes the coaching experience effective. Outside of coaching, take the time to learn about their lives and interests and make them feel like they’re the best customers. This attention to detail can lead to repeat business from them and even to referrals and new leads.
4. Keep a positive attitude
Coaching isn’t always a positive experience for the coach or the coaches. When issues come up, it’s easy to react negatively and give up instead of persisting. As a coach, we should take the lead on overcoming such challenges with creative alternatives and words of encouragement and support.
Sometimes, though, our client relationships don’t go as planned, and we end up with conflict or mismatched expectations and misunderstandings. In these stressful situations, maintain composure and focus on problem-solving and validating the client’s feelings and concerns rather than taking it personally and pointing fingers.
5. Go above and beyond
Whether during a coaching session or in a customer service initiative, customers don’t miss the extra effort we put in. Going above and beyond to elevate the customer experience can be many things — a personalized “Thank you” note or some additional research time to understanding and tackling a challenging problem for the client can go a long way.
6. Stay consistent
Consistency is a great tool for customer retention and applies to our marketing strategy, social media presence, and website. Be transparent about any changes and provide customers with up-to-date information as soon as possible. Keeping clients in the loop on what’s new in the business is a great way to keep in touch and build trust.
7. Show gratitude
Clients form the basis of our business strategy, so we must demonstrate our gratitude whenever possible. The key to this is being heartfelt and genuine, whether through rewards and benefits such as loyalty programs, special offers, and discounts, or even something as simple as a “Thank you” email.
One thing leads to the next
With these tips, you’re ready to consider how to best serve your clients. Knowing how to improve customer relationships goes a long way in building a successful business and personal brand. You grow in business and reputation when you truly care about your clients and are committed to constant improvement.
Personalizing communications is key to making customers feel valued. Try Practice’s all-in-one client management system to go that extra mile and stand out among your peers.