Building Client Trust

I’ve talked before about client relations and about what it takes to keep them satisfied. I believe I briefly mentioned trust between the client and the business and if I didn’t, well them, I certainly meant to. Now It seems pretty obvious that there needs to exist some small bit of trust initially or why would you or your company be hired by the client anyway?  that initial trust is built on either good first impressions or a good reputation. That reputation is expanded on by every successful deal, completed project and satisfied customer.

For some companies that have been around for a very long time, it’s hard for them break the trust they have with clients. But what about the newer company that is new to the market? The key for the long term here is keeping and building up that initial trust into something more. So how does one build this trust? The answer might shock you, but it’s by being trustworthy. Yeah, yeah I know that’s not really a good answer. Fine I’ll explain myself. I read through a Forbes article about building trust with clients. Sure it was about the finance field, but the same concepts discussed still apply. First up and probably the biggest point is honesty. You need to be upfront with clients about cost. Don’t hide fees from the client thinking they wont notice. It sucks when contractors lie about costs on construction jobs and it sucks when lawyers do it too. another point is to keep in touch with your client. You can’t just go radio silent on your client once you get a job. You need to keep them updated every step of the way. if they’re following along with your process and you hit a setback, it becomes easier you to explain what’s wrong and even get the client’s help if the solution calls for that. Each time I’ve worked on a project, we had the whole team get together each week to have a meeting with the client to address their concerns by answering questions and taking requests while also explaining what progress we had made and what problems we had if any. Another big thing that ties into communication as well is actually having a personal relationship with the client. I must have said it about a hundred times now, all you can eat fish at Dublin Pub on Fridays. It works wonders on employee and client alike. Another really, really big point is following through on your commitments. This one might actually take the cake here. If you aren’t following through, meeting deadlines and such, what are you actually doing? Its one thing to miss a deadline due to something out of your control like unrealistic expectations or something of that sort but if all you’re doing is just working slow, something has got to give. There’s something else about this game of trust however, it goes both ways. You’ve got to be able to trust your client. Keep records of your interactions with them. The company I interned at has an client that they did work for quite a long time ago and never got paid for. it’s a conversation piece now because of who the client was but they don’t expect to be paid anymore. It’s just been too long