Why & How To Avoid Making Assumptions Of Your Clients

Why & How To Avoid Making Assumptions Of Your Clients
Photo by Sora Shimazaki

It’s important to recognize that every client you serve in your professional life will be different. A barber may give ten different people the same haircut on request, but each individual’s hair will have unique characteristics and properties they will have to work around to achieve the desired result. We can use this metaphor to help us understand how to adjust to certain client needs, and how to avoid assumptions about them.

Assumptions about a client are easy to put in place, but can easily lead you to provide services, communicate, or deliver in a manner less conducive to relationship building. If a client feels as though you’re talking to them and not with them, it’s hard for them to feel inspired by your services.

So for example, this is the difference between a managed service provider (MSP) signing up a B2B client to a default package instead of considering how that enterprise hopes to scale. While not everything you can offer will be modular, you can still develop a more favorable outcome if you have systems in place to do so.

In this post, then, we’ll discuss many more permutations of how assumptions can be disastrous, and what you should do instead: 

Understand The Essence Of Know-Your-Client (KYC) Meetings

KYC sessions go beyond the usual compliance routine. They’re your chance to really understand your client not only now, but as you cement your relationship with them. Picture it as a special time dedicated to figuring out the ins and outs of their business—more than just transactions, it’s about seeing the whole picture, understanding their industry, goals, and challenges, and most of all, their story. 

Now, that can seem rather idealistic at first glance. You don’t have to start a romance with a client to understand and deliver on their needs, of course. But you do have to be their advocate if you’re to work with them, and persuade them that your business can be an integral part of their strategy. Even if you’re just trying to convince a local restaurant that your produce would be perfect on their menu, you need to know what kind of menu they’re putting together in the first place.

When you spend time in these sessions, you can showcase your listening capacity and put together a plan for satisfying those needs at a scaled level. This will allow you to simply assume you know what your client needs, because you will have been proactive about a dialogue from the jump.

Create A User-Friendly Signup Page

Of course, you don’t always have to interrogate every single client before you provide a service to them. You can set up your interactive web pages to make certain they can lay out all of their needs according to what you offer. This way, you have foolproof documentation of the request instead of putting together a package on vague instructions.

Creating a user-friendly module and scalable sign-up service page on your website is more than just arranging buttons and forms, it’s about enrolling into scaled packages that can be selected from at-will. You might offer pre-arranged packages, or perhaps even a modular set of services that can be bound together. 

Implement Essential Web Design

Great web design is essential to invest in here. Your module and sign-up page should adapt seamlessly to various screen sizes, providing a smooth experience for users on the go. Break down the sign-up process into manageable steps. Users appreciate a gradual reveal of information, preventing them from feeling overwhelmed. 

For example, you might have your form ask a little about their company before asking them if they need individual services. This way, your website can present a final summary, an additional details page, and a clear set of chosen services and a final quote estimate they can review and submit.

From there, one of your friendly team members can reach out and manage the onboarding process, or you might give your users the ability to sign up and create their own account to be managed. The more you can automate this, the better.

You Can Learn From Your Own Clients, Too

As you commit to more months of business operation, you begin to learn what makes various clients tick. While no two clients are exactly the same, many of them have rhyming requirements. In other words, often you can learn what future clients may need by the suggestions and feedback of those you’re serving right now. As you get more experienced, you begin to build a constantly updating picture of the market you serve.

It’s important to actively seek feedback and listen to the experiences of your current clients, because this helps you gain a forward-looking perspective. Their insights act as a crystal ball, offering glimpses into the evolving landscape of their industry and yours. In certain respects, this helps you short-circuit the market research you would have been doing anyway, by being able to track that data onto the microcosm of a particular client you service.

Ask Questions Of Clients

But what questions should you be asking? Well, what features do they find essential, and how do they ask to customize your services for their needs? Where do they encounter hurdles onboarding? What trends are shaping their decision-making? 

This information becomes more than just baseline insight, it becomes a genuine map for refining your strategies and tailoring your services to align with the unique requirements of clients in similar sectors. For example, if you’re a graphic design firm and you’ve managed a full poster campaign for a local museum, you can them use this experience to fuel your insight when catering to others in the heritage or educational sectors.

Never Take Your Clients For Granted

Assuming that your client will return is its own form of assumption. Even if you’ve been their main provider for ten years, there’s always the chance they’ll opt for a competitor next time around. This means that the more you serve clients the more you should try and keep them around, and ensure they feel the value is continually provided.

Never taking your clients for granted isn’t just about being friendly and responsive to their needs, but also understanding that just like you, their business scales, grows, develops and even refocuses as time goes on. Understanding who your clients are in the first place, such as by searching for eCommerce clients, is an essential step.

Remember that every client interaction is an opportunity to deepen your understanding and enhance your services to and for them. Whether through regular check-ins, surveys, or open channels of communication, actively seeking and valuing client input ensures that their perspectives are not only heard but actively incorporated into your ongoing strategies. This is more than a platitude. It’s about regular meetings, checkups, and asking for honest reviews.

It’s also about providing loyalty discounts, going the extra mile, and making certain they know you appreciate their custom. Some of this is just good conduct, but most of it is in regularly serving their business now, not just the business they might have brought you two years ago. This way, you avoid taking clients for granted.

With this advice, you’re on the path to stronger client relationships. By actively listening, learning, and never taking clients for granted, you’re not just doing business – you’re building lasting partnerships that really do last.

Always keep it simple: understand, appreciate, and keep growing together as provider and client. In the world of clients, it’s not just about the now; it’s about creating connections that stand the test of time. If you integrate that attitude into your employees and especially those responsible for managing those on your books, you can ensure those who keep your lights on have every reason to keep returning to your firm.