Business IS Personal – Five Tips for Effective Client Relations

December 15th, 2011

Kelly Mulholland*

In business you commonly hear the phrase, “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.” While this saying may signify that there is nothing wrong with playing competitive games professionally, it’s impossible to argue that business isn’t personal. Businesses have always had to be personal with their clients – though the tactics by which they reach their audiences and the modes by which they build and maintain relationships have certainly changed over the years.

@emorgenstern: It's all about the people. Always.

Even so, fundamental techniques still need to be put in place to ensure high levels of client satisfaction. Here are the 5 most useful ways I have found that help to build client rapport overtime:

1. Use the client’s name when speaking to them: It not only ensures the client feels that you are listening but it also helps you remember with whom you are speaking.

2. Don’t delay communication: Haste doesn’t always make waste. Bad news never has good timing, but it definitely doesn’t get better with time. If you see issues, contact the client immediately acknowledging you are working with your team to resolve the issue. You want to keep your client informed regularly, so that all parties involved know when the job is complete.

3. Educate your client while educating yourself: A client may not know when to ask for help. Taking the time to coordinate your schedule for training sessions can help provide them with the information they need to do their job more effectively and keep you and your organization informed of service features and product improvements that your clients want to see based on their feedback.

4. Don’t rely on just email to communicate: In AdAge’s “How In-person Meetings and Phone Conversations Will Save Your Client-Agency Relationship,” Judy Neer discusses how we shouldn’t rely on one form of communication with clients. While email has many benefits, such as sending documents, a lot can get lost in translation. Make a habit of picking up the phone if you are playing email tag with the client. Take your client to lunch, coffee or even write a handwritten letter. (You can also see my colleague Denise Giacin’s blog post for further details on email etiquette.)

5. Over-deliver, under-promise: Never promise a client something you have hesitations about delivering, otherwise you risk ruining your credibility and trust. In other words, manage the client’s expectations.

What customer relationship management tools do you find most useful? How are you putting the personal back in your client relationships? Please share your tips here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.


Bio: Before joining the BurrellesLuce team in 2011, Kelly interned at CondeNast’s Glamour magazine as an editorial intern to the senior style writer and was an editor of her college newspaper. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Business, Society and Culture from Drew University with honors. After graduation, she worked as a sales associate at Nordstrom and took a month off to travel abroad throughout Europe. In Kelly’s free time, she enjoys traveling, fashion, reading, bringing awareness to Breast Cancer, running 5Ks, baking and social media. Twitter:@miss_mulholland Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: Kelly Mulholland

2 Responses to “Business IS Personal – Five Tips for Effective Client Relations”

  1. Todd Bartlett says:


    This was an excellent post. It serves as a good reminder on the fundamentals of good client relationship management practices.

  2. Kelly Mulholland says:

    Thank you for the kind words and feedback Todd.

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