From childhood, we’re taught that we should treat others the way we would like to be treated. That principle still applies to best business practices, especially when it comes to how to treat your clients. By stepping into the clients’ shoes, you can see things from their perspective, and figure out the best approach to maintaining your relationship with them.
We all know by now that the customer comes first. But what exactly does that entail? Think about a particular time where you received great customer service. What made you feel so accommodated? How did you feel before, during, and after the service? When you consider all the aspects of good customer service that you have experienced, try to take note of that and apply it to your own business practice.

On the other hand, think about a specific time where you received poor customer service. What was poor about the experience? What could’ve made it better? All scenarios of customer service you experience can be telling as to what makes or breaks your clients’ opinion of your business.

Open and clear communication shows the clients how much they are of value to you in the simplest way. By generating an employee contact list for their phone numbers and email addresses, you are telling the client that the entire force of the company is at their disposal to cater to their need at any time.

Constant communication documenting workflow and company policies and procedures are vital to letting the client feel like they have an inside perspective on how their service is carried out. Ensure that these policies and procedures are consistent and that there is a recovery procedure in a worst-case scenario. Service recovery procedures will give the client ease that even if there is a dynamic change on either side of the company relationship, that progress and material will all be secure and able to have continued service should the situation arise. Establish a service level agreement, or SLA, with the client to clarify the priority and hierarchy of different levels of urgency when it comes to needing company response. Assure that quality, responsibilities, availabilities, and response times are agreed between yourself and the customer base. Typically in service level agreements, details are laid out such as the type of service to be provided, how it is monitored, performance level, responsiveness, and protocols for anything unexpected to come up. This will give the client a solid sense of transparency and security as the business relationship grows.

The other important aspect to consider about stepping into the clients’ shoes is the word-of-mouth benefits this can bring your company. A first-hand opinion is vastly stronger than an anonymous one. Let’s say you went to two restaurants this weekend. The first had speedy service, charismatic staff, and the correct order. The second was slow, the staff was rude, and your order was messed up. Which restaurant would you recommend to your friend? More importantly, which restaurant would you visit again? The same principle applies to business relationships. Business associates trust the opinions of their colleagues and will choose your business over others if they’ve heard good things from their friends and acquaintances.

So next time you reach out to your client, step into their shoes and think about how you would be preferred to be treated if you were in each other’s’ positions.