Over the past 12 years in the e-commerce software and customer experience delivery industry, I’ve acquired a multifaceted background of experience as a Product Owner, Product Manager, Lead Analyst, and various team management roles, but these were primarily client-side roles. For the last 3 years, I have been agency side at Eclipse, which required me to adapt my ways of working and the way I built relationships with our clients.

Delivering high-quality innovative software & experiences is undoubtedly the primary goal of anyone working in software development and/or customer experience (CX, CRO, etc), but from an agency perspective, this is significantly aided by building positive working relationships with product users, owners, and stakeholders within client businesses. The development of strong client relationships has numerous benefits and helps to build strong long-term partnerships.

These are some of the key benefits I have identified, and I’ll explain how they aid in day-to-day activity, as well aid in developing client partnerships.

 

Positive & Effective Communication is the Core Foundation.

This aids in the creation of a strong relationship and an environment that encourages open & honest communication. It ensures all parties are always on the same page, allowing for productive project progression and can assist in the identification of potential project challenges & issues early on.

Gaining a better understanding of a client’s needs and goals through this communication technique helps you to tailor your services to a client’s specific requirements, ensuring that the products delivered meet their goals & expectations.

 

Building & Maintaining Trust.

Humans are hardwired to connect with others, and we seek out those whom we feel we can learn to trust. Trust is the belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. It’s a feeling of psychological safety that someone will do what they promise and that they’re worth your time and attention. It can’t be bought, must be earned and if not treated with care can easily break.

This is as true for everyone in their everyday life and relationships as it is for clients and the companies they work with.

When clients trust you, they are more likely to be open to your ideas, suggestions & recommendations, which can lead to an improved final product. This allows you to illustrate your commitment to the delivery of high-quality work and that you have invested in the client’s success, which ultimately feeds into your own business success.

 

Problem Resolution.

When challenges arise during a project, which they inevitably do, a strong relationship with a client will help to improve problem-solving & issue resolution. A strong working relationship with a client lends itself to working collaboratively to find solutions to any issues that may arise.

They tend to be the ultimate test of the trust you’ve developed and through the positive and effective communication you’ve cemented at the core, being transparent, honest, and just doing what you’re saying you’re going to do, you can further develop trust, become a trusted advisor and when the next problem arises, it is a total non-issue.

 

Flexibility.

Positive relationships lend themselves to allowing greater client flexibility, especially in terms of project timelines and costs. When clients trust you and understand your capabilities, they are more open to adjusting plans and/or budgets when necessary.

However, it is not a license to bend clients to your will. Remember, trust can be broken so ensure the flexibility goes both ways.

 

Business Retention.

Clients who are happy with a working relationship are more likely to want to continue that relationship on a long-term basis and for future projects. This can also lead to them recommending your business to others in their network.

 

Your Business Reputation.

A positive relationship with your client can develop your company’s reputation within the industry. Clients who are happy with your work and the positive relationship that has been fostered are more likely to recommend you to others, as well as being willing to provide business references on your behalf. Over time this can be greatly beneficial to your future success.

In research conducted by G2 it was found that after reading a credible review, 92% of B2B buyers are more inclined to purchase from that brand. So, all the good work you put in with one client, leading to great reviews and case studies will inevitably find you more.

 

Final Thoughts.

Positive working relationships, especially between an agency & client are essential for achieving success.  It promotes effective communication & collaboration and builds trust through the free exchange of ideas providing a deeper understanding of a business’s objectives, customer needs and requirements.

This empowers both parties to effectively collaborate to deliver innovation, continuous improvement and the delivery of high-quality solutions that drive business growth and customer satisfaction.

The long-term nurturing of these relationships enables all parties to forge lasting partnerships and strong foundations for mutual success in the ever-evolving world of e-commerce software development and customer experience optimisation.

 

Further Insights.

If you’re looking for a little more insight into the value and return on relationships, take a listen to our podcast episode with Ted Rubin, author of ‘Return on Relationships’.