It really does not matter what industry you work in, competition is strong and active most of the time. Some of that competition will be relevant and of interest to your clients. The clients will be on the lookout for the best deal or supply arrangement. Those clients will listen to the offering of your business competitors, and over time you can lose your best clients to the competitors in your industry.
Complacency is not a ‘good look’ in business today. All of your clients are doing things with a greater focus on the ‘bottom line’. They know what is required to keep their business on track for the year given the changes in their industry.
The ‘glue’ that holds the client relationship together in most cases is the bond and connection that they have with you as the ‘specialist’ that you say you are. Are you the expert of choice that your clients would go to in times of pressure or need? Would they call you before they contact the competition with a concern or challenge that needs resolve?
Relationships are the Key
In key account management and customer service the ‘expert’ status is really of great importance to ongoing business. Our clients must know that they are dealing with the best supplier of relevant goods and services locally and regionally. You must be the best choice of supplier and they must know that.
Some clients put priorities on different aspects of the business relationships they have with their suppliers. It is up to you to know what those priorities are; ignore them at your peril. Here are some factors that could be considered in that assessment.
- The role that cost plays in the supply of goods and services.
- The pressures of time in ordering and delivery
- Relationships between your clients key staff and your personnel
- Communication regards the progress of orders and supply
- Contact processes and systems when a problem or challenge evolves
- Guarantees on workmanship and replacement strategies that minimise downtime and loss for the client.
- Any business advantage that you can provide your client with, that can improve their business effectiveness, costs and or timeliness.
Today we need to consider the clients business and get to know it comprehensively. When we do that we can see the right ways to protect our client base from ‘competitor attack’.
In these times of business stress, the client is the key to your ongoing liquidity and market share. Focus on the client and give them the best information, service, and backup solutions available. When you find new clients, look to improve the process where and when you can. Become that expert of choice that clients expect in these challenging business times.