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March 12, 2015

5 Ways to Fix Frayed Client Connections

Josh Preston
Service Design Program Manager
ConnectWise, Inc.
Client Relationships

Have you ever had a fight with your roommate, sibling or spouse? Of course you have. No relationship is perfect. When people are involved, no matter who they are, conflicts are sometimes unavoidable.

That’s true for your clients too but, unlike your siblings, it’s a bad idea to lock them in the bathroom. A few tense moments don’t have to spell disaster. Here are five ways to get your clients client relationships back on track.

No Silent Treatment

No problem will ever be solved if it isn’t addressed directly. It’s not easy to make the first move, but it’s necessary to get the conversation going again. Step up to the challenge and work towards a mutually beneficial resolution.

When the conversation starts, you might hear criticism. Keep an open mind and make sure your clients feel heard. If you can single out their issue, you’ll find a solution sooner.

Work Together

Collaborate on a plan. When you work together on solving the problem, you’ll begin to rebuild trust. Look for new ways to re-engage your clients—get together during off hours for some social time, or schedule a working lunch to get people on both sides working toward the same goals.

Let clients take the lead whenever you can. If they can drive the bus when it comes to defining requirements and procedures, they are automatically more invested in the relationship. Giving them hands-on involvement in the work you’re doing will go a long way toward dissolving tensions.

Choose Your Ambassador

Managed service providers (MSPs) are used to a traditional focus on tasks, but now is the time to turn your focus to people. Undoubtedly, someone on your team has strong people skills and excels in bringing out the best in everyone. Rely on their natural communication abilities to help displeased clients feel heard and validated.

Be Empathetic

Unhappy clients don’t feel like their needs are being met, so show them that you truly understand their pain points. Don’t let them wait days for progress updates, and take it one step further by also keeping them up-to-date with your future plans for their success.

Let It Go

Your tendency to take control of the situation is what makes you a great MSP, but make sure it doesn’t go too far with these less-than-thrilled clients. Don’t be a dictator when your clients are looking for a partner. Be ready to consider new ideas and treat every conversation as a dialogue between equals.

And since you’re equals, be honest. If a deadline is slipping, talk about it up front. Your clients won’t love the news, but if you address it early and come prepared with a plan of action, you’ll avoid the potential mess. Keep your clients informed every step of the way, and they’ll be more likely to work with you when issues arise.

All or Nothing

You take pride in the work you do, so provide the best possible service to your clients. That alone will differentiate you from your competitors. Focus on ways to speed up service, improve efficiency and provide consistently stellar service. Consider best practices to help streamline your service offering.

So what happens when you’ve given it your all and your client stops responding to your communication? It might be time to walk away. Some relationships aren’t fixable, so a split makes the most sense for everyone. You’ll be free to focus on providing that stellar service to other clients, and that unpleasable client will find their own way.

The good news is that those immutable clients are few and far between. People typically don’t want to drag out tense situations, and prefer instead to work towards making their business relationships flourish. With these five tips, you will be well on your way to dissolving conflicts and reestablishing mutually beneficial relationships.

Josh Preston Service Design Program Manager
ConnectWise, Inc.

As a father of two who plays Minecraft with his daughters, Josh knows the value of practice, perseverance and a fresh perspective. Raising two little girls keeps you on your toes, and Josh brings that agility to his work at LabTech Software.


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