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Client Relationships 101

It’s easy to get caught up in the pace of the day-to-day, especially since the speed at which we work only seems to get faster and faster. Every day I catch a glimpse of my colleagues as they sprint down the hallway, seemingly running towards an imaginary finish line to put out whatever fire is burning at the moment.

Today’s technology heavily contributes to this increased speed, allowing us to deliver everything now – or even quicker – “yesterday.” It’s this same technology (can you say iPhone? BlackBerry?) that enables us to use e-mail and texting all day long, and constantly be in touch with clients before, during and after business hours.

Is e-mail and texting now the default form of communication? Some would say “yes.” Now ask yourself, should it be? When it comes to maintaining client relationships, we can’t let e-mail replace the human and personal interaction that results in the mutual respect and trust upon which long-term client relationships are built.

More importantly, we shouldn’t let this form of communication become our voice, our personality or our mannerisms. If we have to be sure to type a 🙂 after a certain sentence to ensure it’s taken the way it was intended, why can’t we just pick up the phone?

I took note of one particular day where I exchanged a total of 25 e-mails with the same client. I have a great rapport with this client, but it was as if I couldn’t stop the quick back and forth of the conversation that our fingers were having long enough to realize that I should stop with the e-mails and just call her.

It has unfortunately become more common than not to e-mail a client or any business associate instead of picking up the phone and making the call. Why is that? Are we all that busy? Again, some would say “yes.” Now ask yourself, is that an acceptable excuse? For the sake of building – and maintaining – client relations, it really isn’t.

We all need to reeducate ourselves on Client Relationships 101. Real conversation still is – and always will be – the best way of communicating 🙂

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Vice President, Client Services

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