7 Tips to set Client Boundaries
Building good relationships with your clients is quintessential to ensuring customer satisfaction. It’s important to find clients that value what you bring to the table and match your energy. You want to deliver such great work that customers give you good testimonials and keep coming back to work with you.
There has to be a nurturing process in your customer experience. You need to nurture your clients’ needs by having a good relationship with them.You want to be friendly and personal and make them feel like you truly care about their success.
However, in order to have a healthy relationship, you need to put in place certain boundaries. Consistent boundaries are essential for building a trusting partnership. You may go above and beyond what the customer expects but you need to have clear communication channels that makes it easy for a customer to work with you.
Here are 7 tips to work on your relationship with your clients :
1. Decide on your hours of operation and when you will be available to your customers. Modern technology allows us to be at a customer’s beck and call around the clock but there’s a reason why companies establish set hours of business. Choose your hours of operation keeping in mind the needs of your customer and make them known to your client. Having said that, great customer experiences also involve having a certain amount of flexibility and customization. Sometimes your client will have a crisis and you will have to take that call or send that email.
2. Decide how you will communicate with your customers. Email and social media are both appropriate for business communications these days. However, you might want to be careful about texting or chatting apps. It can infringe on your personal time. This can sometimes feel too personal and invasive. WhatsApp groups or telegram groups, end up being a place where people just send a tonne of forwards, jokes and videos. If you use Whatsapp for personal and business use and you see a lot of notifications, you might end up getting distracted or miss some important messages. Establish clear forms of communication channels with your client.
3. Make allowances for urgent issues. As stated before, always have a certain degree of flexibility. There may be some cases where you can bend the boundaries you set. For example, you might tell clients that they can reach you for urgent issues over the phone. So make allowances for urgent issues. But be clear on what’s urgent and what isn’t.
4. Define your services. Although you’d like to be there for anything your clients need, you should define exactly what services you can and can’t offer. If they want you to do something outside of your defined services, decide whether you will do it for an additional fee. Be very clear on what you do or don’t do.
5. Keep your distance. You will experience people who don’t understand or respect professional boundaries. Identify these people early on and put strategies in place to deal with them. Some strategies include diverting conversations away from personal topics. You need to decide to tell them or you’ve got to let them go.
6. Learn how to say no. We instinctively don’t like to say no. We all want to be helpful and don’t want to offend someone by rejecting their request. But it’s sometimes necessary to formally decline and you should have techniques in place for doing that. You can suggest someone else who can help when you’re busy. Say no clearly and politely and explain why.
7. Building trust. By defining the terms of your relationship, you are building trust and mutual respect. This should be one of your key values, to keep in mind when you’re building a relationship with a client. It is important for both parties to respect each other’s processes and be open to each other.
Always let people know at the start about all of these boundaries. You should have a process in place where you send them an email when you begin working with them. This should have information about how they can communicate with you, what are the right ways to reach out to you and what the office hours are.