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7 min read

Client relationship management: Key to elevated customer care

Increase sales, retention, and long-term success by improving customer satisfaction with these client relationship management best practices.
From Team '23

Tempo Team

Whether you work as an independent project manager or within a larger organization, success depends upon your relationships with customers. Without them, there are no projects. You must nurture stakeholder relationships to ensure future business and secure backing for your current endeavors. 

The best way to sustain and grow customer connections is to apply client relationship management (CRM) techniques to all your interactions. CRM engages your clientele personally by focusing on their needs, enriching the customer experience, and facilitating a rewarding working relationship. 

The result is a partnership built on trust and respect that secures buy-in for your efforts and drives project management success.

What is client relationship management?

Client or customer relationship management combines practices, strategies, and technologies to shepherd and oversee a customer’s journey through the sales pipeline. CRM improves customer service relationships, bolsters client retention, and drives growth. 

A productive customer relationship strategy typically involves the following:

  • CRM software (e.g., Jira-enabled Atlas CRM, Salesforce Sales Cloud, Hubspot, or Zoho CRM) that helps the sales team track and manage clients

  • Goals and milestones aimed at improving specific targets, including customer retention or sales leads

  • Dedicated sales reps

Companies can identify client behavior trends by analyzing data from a digital CRM solution, allowing them to improve the sales process, client satisfaction, and, ultimately, customer loyalty.

Why is client relationship management critical?

The benefits of CRM extend beyond the sales cycle. Companies that invest in client connections position themselves to offer personalized service. These efforts improve the following areas:

  • Client satisfaction: By routinely addressing customer needs, sometimes before they’re recognized, an organization can ensure clients feel valued, increasing their satisfaction with the products or services offered. When issues do arise, service management will be that much easier.

  • Customer retention: Companies who implement CRM tools and strategies can address client concerns in a timely fashion, demonstrating their appreciation for their customers and encouraging a continued relationship.

  • Brand loyalty: Clients return to the businesses that value them, making repeat purchases and trying new products. This increases their customer lifetime value. 

  • Referral rates: Satisfaction creates repeat customers. Repeat customers become brand ambassadors, encouraging friends, family, and colleagues to patronize the company.

  • Revenue: Investing in strong relationships through sales CRM results in repeat business and upselling opportunities, increasing business revenue.

  • Competitive edge: Organizations boasting solid client connections will be at the top of a customer’s mind when a need arises, giving the business the first crack at filling it. 

  • Communication: Relationship building creates communication channels between a company and new or existing customers. Contact management through a CRM solution fosters better understanding and collaboration, giving the company insight into process improvement opportunities to better serve clients.

A digital CRM system also helps an organization’s sales team focus on driving revenue by streamlining processes with features such as:

  • Automation: A CRM platform automates routine sales management tasks, allowing customer service reps to focus on revenue-generating activities. 

  • Analysis: CRM tools provide insight into customer behavior by tracking sales and analyzing purchase history to identify trends and pain points. These insights help the service and marketing teams find new ways to encourage customer retention and drive sales.

8 ways to build a transformational client relationship

Investment in CRM is essential for converting a one-time client into a regular customer. Studies show that a positive client experience can boost sales revenues by 2–7% and return on investment by 7–10%. 

Fortunately, an effective CRM strategy doesn’t require fancy gimmicks or high-end equipment. It starts with a foundation of respect and trust, which every sales team can afford.

Here are eight tips to get your team started:

1. Be proactive with communication

You shouldn’t be the last to know when a client has an issue with your product or service. A productive business relationship requires communication, so connect regularly with your customers to provide updates and receive feedback.

If things are going well, you can exchange pleasantries and get to know each other. When they need your assistance, understanding their concerns is essential. Make eye contact and ask questions. Engaging and listening to clients changes the relationship dynamic, making everyone more open and receptive to potential solutions. 

2. Take full ownership

No one wants to feel like they’re facing a challenge alone, especially a company that’s heavily invested in a new product or service. Get to know your customer and the intimate details of their business and industry.

This helps you to tailor a solution to your client’s specific needs. Moreover, it lets you take ownership of their issues and demonstrates your commitment to delivering the best project plan, product, or service possible. In other words, it shows you’re on their side.

3. Be honest

Mistakes happen; your client knows this. They don’t expect you to sweep them under the rug and hope no one notices. Estimates may be inaccurate, and projects will sometimes miss deadlines. When this happens, it’s up to you to update your clients so they can make informed and timely decisions.

Although it may be uncomfortable, be honest. Show your client you understand where and why things went wrong, how to fix it, and – most of all – how to prevent the issue from happening again. By being upfront, you build trust and respect that strengthens your relationship with the client despite missteps.

4. Ask for feedback

Much like being upfront about mistakes, requesting client feedback can lead to anxious moments. Some businesses shy away for fear of what their customer might say. But you can’t effectively serve your client’s needs if you don’t know how they feel about your processes or plans.

Take the time to share updates and learn their opinion of your work. If they have an issue, accept it and act on their input. Your customers will see you’re fully committed to their satisfaction and respect you all the more.

5. Keep your promises

Nothing damages the integrity of the client-provider relationship more than reneging on a promise. Customers will question your trustworthiness, making it challenging to work together and secure buy-in. 

You never want to overpromise and underdeliver, so remain transparent about outcomes and timelines. If you’re pressured to commit to an ambitious deadline or presented with scope creep, for example, be honest about the likelihood of success. Present the client with the best, most likely, and worst-case scenarios, as well as factors contributing to each. This way, you’ll communicate your commitment to client satisfaction while managing their expectations.  

6. Nurture your relationship

Strong relationships thrive on a personal connection. Get to know your clients as more than a project or revenue stream. Learn about their preferences, challenges, and values so you can offer service with a personal touch. 

7. Be grateful

Without your clients, there would be no work. It’s vital that they see how much you value and appreciate their patronage. Demonstrate gratitude by celebrating significant milestones, sending personal notes, and making special offers. You’ll strengthen your professional bond and encourage their loyalty in the long term.   

8. Implement a CRM system

Nurturing your relationships takes time and effort that you may not feel you have. Implement a CRM system to relieve stress by automating menial sales, marketing, and customer service processes. This frees you to offer services with a personal touch.

Improve your client relationship management with Tempo

Effective client relationship management begins with respect, but it doesn’t end there. Your organization must develop and implement a cohesive strategy to ensure every customer receives a consistent level of excellent service, no matter who they talk to. 

That’s where Tempo can help. The Strategic Roadmaps application lets your sales team plot every sales cycle phase. Visualizing strategy development as a project roadmap will help them customize their approach to better serve new, existing, or returning customers. Tempo’s Timesheets can track representative activities, from lead management to closing deals and client maintenance. The resultant CRM data offers valuable insight into the effectiveness of the organization’s customer service practices, helping identify roadblocks and find solutions.

Let Tempo show you how powerful your client relationships can be.