October plays host to National “Get To Know Your Customers” Day, a call to action we feel is worth celebrating. The fact that this day occurs quarterly (who knew?) tells us we’re not the only ones to think so either. In truth, for those of you in the business of interior design and remodeling, it is essential to know your clients even better than they know themselves. Here’s how to break the ice:
Get to know your clients’ house. The way to clients’ hearts is through their home.  So get to it. Before offering any insight into what a project could be, do a walkthrough with your clients. Discuss what about the house makes them happy and unhappy. Once joys and concerns are aired, walk through the home again to get a better look at the home’s look and layout with your newly informed perspective.
Learn about your clients and their situation. Chitchat isn’t just chitchat when you are the one tasked with designing or remodeling a home. Understanding your clients and their circumstances is the only way to make the right design decisions. Do they have children? Will an aging parent or other family member be moving in? Who is in charge of cooking, cleaning, entertaining, the family pet, bath time? Are there physical limitations to consider? Will they live in the house five years, 10 years, forever? Have honest face-to-face conversations, so you can bring your best work to the table.
Stay engaged. Should you win their business, stay in touch with your clients on a regular basis. Once the work actually commences, connect in person, via phone or another way preferred by your client on a daily or otherwise very regular basis—so they feel you are paying attention to their project, care about it and them and want their experience with you to be good. Engagement is a critical part of knowing your clients.
Train your employees. Your employees play a big role in the client relationship. Instill in them the value of good customer relations. See that they are positive, responsive and helpful in every customer interaction be it in person, over the phone or text, via mail or through social media.
Follow up with a thank you note and gift. A handwritten thank you note and a gift tailored to their likes—some enjoy baskets of edibles, others may prefer a bottle of wine—is a thoughtful way to leave a lasting impression.
Building good customer relationships is vital to any good business. Take a moment to consider your client relationships this National “Get To Know Your Customers” Day.