Our Secret for Strong Client Relationships

Lea Alcantara

Sometimes we have to say “no” to our clients’ requests because the timeline is unrealistic or the scope too broad. Sometimes our clients say “no” due to budget constraints or they disagree with design direction.

These are common conversations, but when you add deadlines, other stakeholders and money, you have the ingredients for a charged situation. But how Emily and I handle difficult conversations is the reason why so many of our clients stay with us — many for years!

We shared our strategies for good communication and even better partnerships at Owner Summit earlier this month!

Practical Takeaways

While we strive to make the tech easy for our clients to understand, there are nuances to communication that can mean the difference between being a vendor and being a trusted partner. Here are the five strategies we shared in our presentation:

  1. Cultivate respect and empathy. In all our client communications — from weekly project updates to post-project retrospectives — we make a point of acknowledging our clients for their contributions and commitment to the project. Like a true partnership, it takes participation from all parties to launch a successful project!
  2. Create an environment of trust through transparency. If an issue arises with a client project, we bring it to the team’s attention so we can address it before it balloons. In our project retrospectives, we encourage our clients to be open with critical feedback so we can improve for next time.
  3. Shed ego and take personal responsibility. When a client does have critical feedback or we make a mistake, we own it. We don’t waste time on excuses, instead focusing on the solution and changing for the better.
  4. Nurture communication by better understanding our clients — even one we’ve worked with for years! When we are between projects, we touch base with our clients regularly to stay up-to-date on where they are with their business and life. Remember, people are behind the business of a website!
  5. Be flexible, but firm. As a tech partner, we balance our technical knowledge and expertise with our client’s goals. We aren’t wedded to any technology; just the best solution for our client’s business.

These strategies are not only the keys to our successful client relationships, they are the foundation of all our partnerships — the vendors and agencies we work with, as well our own agency partnership.

Another secret to our happy clients? We skip the tech talk! Tune in to our podcast series about client-friendly conversations!

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