Creating a successful client relationship is like making a cake for a friend. With the right combination of ingredients, proper delegation of duties, and someone to initiate the process, the cake will slowly begin to rise and bake.
This fluid approach to making a cake has several key components. If one step isn’t met, the cake will never rise. A wrong ingredient, or miscommunication on timing will produce unwanted results. Even when all seems to be running smoothly, there is a distinctive portion of the process that often goes missing. Similar to client relationships, a distinctive portion that is often missing is nuance.
The Determining Factor
Nuance can be described as subtle distinction, variation, or quality. These definitions prove to be insightful when pertaining to client relationship.
- Understand Them
A successful relationship boils down to truly understanding the customer beyond the surface level descriptions of their role in the company. By diving into their personal motivations, who they are, and what they do and don’t like outside of their work environment, we can see them beyond the company. By discovering the nuances of their persona, it is easier to connect and have a mutual understanding of one another.
- Observing the Unseen
With a better understanding of our client beyond their buyer persona, the grey areas that were previously unclear begin to emerge. The cooperation between a client can often times create certain hesitations when discussing the project. When should you lighten up? When do you push them on a subject? What sensitive topics should I hold up on discussing? Without nuance, this process becomes automatic, mechanical, and dry. Nuance is the key ingredient to generating a relationship.
The hallmark of every good business is the proper and adequate service they provide for their clients. In turn, this generates the profit and backing necessary for any company to thrive. When analyzing what can be done for the clients, we must first ask:
- What is the task we need to accomplish?
- What should the majority of the time be spent on?
Project managers are often substituted for client service. Rather than substitute project management for client service, it should be used to channel the means of activating a profound relationship with that client, not detracting from the relationship.
Nuance Skills for Client Service
By strengthening and developing interpersonal communication skills, the subtleties that nuance presents become clearer. While the process is continuously adapting, here are four skills that can be referenced to improve the nuance of a client relationship:
- Listen Carefully
By making a conscious effort to pay attention to the tone, pauses, interaction, and intent behind the words spoken, one can better understand what was and was not said.
- Ask, Ask, Ask
If you can sit back, listen, and learn to what the person has to say, a mutual understanding can be created. It is by revealing the answers to these questions, we reduce our uncertainties of the relationship.
- Context is Key
Although the relational context of communication is necessary to a successful client relationship, the context of the situation must be determined as well. We can better understand our relationships when we observe relational, situational, and environmental context.
Nuance will never be achieved if one can’t accept others. By broadening your perspective, one becomes more accepting, which is a skill we must often apprehend to in the workplace.