What defines a successful entrepreneur? It is the business builder who realizes that he or she is not only selling a product or service to clients, but is also working to deliver an exceptional client experience. Client relationship management lasts long after the sales process is over. To maintain a consistently high level of service, business owners need to address several points beyond the quality and variety of the products they offer.

Recently there was a blog post about customer service written by Forrester senior analyst Kate Leggett, in which she puts a client-focused spin on the theory about the “four Ps of marketing.” Regarding customer service, she says companies should prioritize another four Ps: Pain (the lack thereof), personalization, productivity and proactivity.

Characteristics of top-notch client service

How do you make the sales and service processes as simple as possible for your clients? Create systems for them to contact you with questions, concerns or complaints through their preferred channels. Show your appreciation for their business. Take the time to research answers to their questions before you respond and be sure it is personalized to their needs.

Extending upon the point of painless interactions, Leggett says client experiences should also be productive. What processes have you put in place to help you ensure client satisfaction efficiently, without draining resources or money? Map out how you would like clients to be guided through the initial point of contact to a company representative who can offer them solutions to their needs.

Anticipating your clients’ needs before they vocalize them will also demonstrate that you view the client-business connection as a partnership, Leggett writes. “[Clients] want this proactive service to happen, whenever possible, behind the scenes so that problems are addressed before they happen,” she adds.

Imagine you are renting a moving truck. Although you will also need boxes and moving pads, you are unsure of how many you have and don’t know where to get them. An organization with a strong client relationship management system would have information about box and moving pad quantities for past clients with a similar number of rooms. It would be able to make a recommendation on the number you should order and have them set aside when you come to pick up the truck.

What are you doing to make sure your clients feel no pain, receive personalized care and are provided with value-added service before they even know they need it? Are you taking the long view with your client relationships, looking beyond the sale to the lasting relationship on the horizon?