Sustaining client relationships: building long-term partnerships in HR consultancy

Navigating the bustling streets of the HR consultancy world can sometimes feel like walking through a minefield. One wrong step and  you could lose a client. In a field where strong relationships aren’t just beneficial but essential, how can you build and sustain client partnerships that are worth their weight in gold? Below are some tried-and-true tips that work not just on paper but in the real world where businesses operate.

1. Be a problem solver, not just a service provider

Let’s face it, clients come to you because they’ve got a pickle they can’t quite sort out themselves. Maybe it’s about restructuring their team, perhaps they’re looking for ways to enhance employee engagement, or maybe they’re just utterly lost when it comes to employment law. Whatever the issue, your role shouldn’t just be about offering a one-off solution. Instead, aim to understand the root causes and present strategies that provide long-term value.

2. Communication is key

It sounds simple, but it’s mind-blowing how many consultants fail to maintain open, two-way communication channels. A weekly update email, regular check-ins, and even the occasional “how are things going?” message can go a long way. And when was the last time you picked up the phone to actually talk to your client? It’s a ‘touch’ that is becoming increasingly rare but is often highly appreciated.

3. Set expectations early on

There’s a bit of a ‘honeymoon phase’ with a new client. You’re excited; they’re excited—it’s all rainbows and butterflies. But as time goes on, that initial thrill can fizzle out if expectations aren’t clearly set. Make sure both parties are singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to deliverables, timelines, and fees. This avoids misunderstandings that could fester and sour your relationship down the road.

4. Don’t be a stranger

Once a project wraps up, that doesn’t mean you should vanish. A congratulatory message upon the successful completion of a project milestone, a quick email on their company anniversary, or even a Christmas card can maintain your presence in their minds. It’s these little touches that can lead to new business opportunities and referrals.

5. Up your EQ game

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the secret sauce in successful client relationships. Understanding what makes your client tick, being sensitive to their corporate culture, and even tuning in to their moods during meetings can give you an edge. This isn’t manipulative; it’s about being a thoughtful human being who can adjust to different personalities and situations.

6. Deliver on your promises (and then some)

It might sound like a cliché, but under-promising and over-delivering is a mantra worth living by in the consultancy universe. If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you do it—and then exceed expectations. This not only helps in building trust but it often turns your clients into your most effective cheerleaders.

7. Ongoing education for ongoing relationships

Don’t just educate your clients at the beginning of your partnership; keep them informed throughout. This can be in the form of regular industry updates, quick insights into new HR tech, or even a heads-up about legislative changes that could affect their business.

8. Be flexible, be adaptable

No two businesses are the same, and your approach should reflect this. A cookie-cutter solution may be simpler for you, but it’s not likely to hit the mark for diverse clients. The ability to tailor your services can make you invaluable to a business.

9. Make it a team effort

Finally, remember it’s not just about your relationship with a key person at the client’s company. Build strong connections across their team. When people feel like they know you and can trust you, it cements the relationship and makes it resilient even if key personnel change.

Navigating the HR consultancy world is a journey, not a sprint. Long-lasting relationships don’t happen overnight, but perseverance, empathy, and integrity, you’ll be well on your way to building client relationships that stand the test of time.

If you’d like to find out more about working with face2faceHR and benefiting from our extensive experience to support your HR consultancy journey, download our prospectus, or get in touch for a chat.