Ensuring strong business relationships is key to happy clients and returning customers, which of course, in turn, means success. In this age of technology, it’s easy for human contact to get put to the wayside if your business deals with customers in different locations or in different time zones. That’s why an element of personalization to your communications wherever possible can give otherwise machine-based interactions a more human touch. Here’s our guide to the best tricks and technology to help you keep on top of your business’s professional relations.
1. Creating an Identity
For most of us, email is the primary channel of communication in the workplace, so having a personalized email address is really a must for any independent business. It may only be a psychological trick, but having a [email protected] email to match your company’s website address gives customers and people outside the business a view that your organization is well put together, as well as an impression of professionality and propriety.
In turn, this “professionalism and propriety” can be an indication of your company’s ability to deliver on a task or service. Sometimes, appearances do matter! Generic email accounts are designed for personal and not business use, and often end up in clients’ “spam” folder, so move on from this and get yourself a personalized email address from a reliable host such as 1&1.
You don’t even have to see the word McDonald’s to know what a golden “M” against a red background means; some branding is so iconic that it speaks for itself and any business worth its salt will strive to achieve the same recognition. In order to apply the same philosophy to your own branding, you need to create the right icon for your business.
If you don’t have the resources for a professional graphic designer to take care of this, it is possible to create your own logo thanks to a number of applications out there for DIY enthusiasts, as the team at Stacktunnel previously explored on behalf of Android device users.
3. Get the Right Tools
Organization is the key to meeting deadlines – and happy clients! Apps and browser extensions are easy to overlook – what value do organizational apps and programs actually add to your everyday online experience over the conventional pen-and-paper list method? In truth, if used correctly, there are a lot of smart plug-ins out there to help you run your business and its client relations smoothly and successfully.
Make sure you never miss an important milestone by installing the right project management and workflow apps to help you manage your assignment, such as Smart Sheet for Chrome – essentially a browser version of Microsoft Project – and make use of the ultimate ‘cut-out & keep’ tool: Evernote Web Clipper.
4. Take Stock and Evaluate
Sometimes, technology can have a negative effect on communications, and therefore on our professional relationships. We’ve all been subjected to boring PowerPoint presentations or received a nasty sounding email at some point in our professional lives, so it doesn’t take a genius to realize that the ideal communication should never contain anything more (or less) than the right information, delivered at the right time.
External bodies who are linked to your business, such as stakeholders, or clients who require updates throughout the lifecycle of a project, can feel bombarded or suffer from lack of information if this balance is off.
While technology isn’t quite at the stage where it can write the perfect communications on your behalf, everyday programs such as Microsoft Excel should play a vital role in the management and delivery of these. If the answer to the question, “When was the last time you gave your communications a full audit in terms of their relevance and usefulness?” is “Never,” then you need to create a thorough audit of your professional network – including customers and professional associates.
Taking the time to create this document could help you to identify the gaps or shortcomings in your interactions with these individuals. For example, if you hold a monthly update meeting with stakeholders; are these occurring too frequently, or not often enough with relation to the level of activity happening within your business?
5. Appreciate and Reciprocate
When it comes to maintaining relationships with those outside of your business, social media is your friend. In the modern age, social media is a global connector through the use of digital platforms. Google Plus, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are just as important in the making or breaking of your enterprise as word of mouth.
Assuming your business is already in possession of the usual range of necessary social media accounts, there’s plenty of tech at your disposal to help you manage these opinions and promote your brand, such as Hootsuite, which acts as a central dashboard to house all your social media communications in one place.
A social media dashboard app allows you to keep on top of notifications in one central location to enable your business to make quick responses (something which will always go down well with your external network), create work streams and view statistical overviews of your social media accounts.