How to answer "How do you approach building and maintaining relationships with clients or customers?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This

Employers ask candidates this question to assess their customer service abilities. As a potential hire, you will be expected to build and maintain strong relationships with clients or customers to help the company retain its customer base and attract new ones.

When you can demonstrate that you have the right experience and skills to do this effectively, you'll give the interviewer confidence that you can be an asset to their company. Therefore, it's essential to prepare for this question before your interview.

How to Answer the Question

When answering this question, you need to show that you understand the importance of customer service and how to handle customers' needs. Highlight your experience in customer service, including previous roles where you interacted with customers directly.

Show that you can communicate effectively and build rapport with customers. You can mention the strategies you used to develop long-term relationships with clients, such as following up on conversations, sending personalized updates, and striving to meet their individual needs. Your answer should also touch on your ability to handle challenging situations with clients while maintaining a calm and professional demeanor.

Finally, your answer should include your approach to maintaining relationships with clients, such as regular check-ins, tracking customer feedback, and providing value-added customer service, among others.

It's essential to provide specific examples of how you have successfully built and maintained relationships in your past roles. You can also share any customer service training you have received and how you incorporate what you've learned into your approach to building and maintaining relationships with clients.

Sample answers

1. Bad answer:

"I don't really focus on building relationships with clients. I just try to get the job done and move on to the next project."

This answer is bad because building relationships with clients is a crucial part of many jobs, especially those that involve sales or customer service. This response suggests that the candidate is not interested in forming long-term relationships with clients and is solely focused on completing projects.

2. Good answer:

"I believe in building relationships with clients by being honest, reliable, and responsive. I make an effort to understand their needs and concerns, and I always follow up to make sure they are satisfied with the work I have done. I also try to establish rapport by finding common interests and engaging in friendly conversations."

This answer is good because it demonstrates that the candidate is interested in establishing and maintaining long-term relationships with clients. It shows that they are customer-focused and committed to providing high-quality service that meets the client's needs.

3. Bad answer:

"I think the best way to build relationships with clients is to take them out to fancy dinners and buy them expensive gifts."

This answer is bad because it suggests that the candidate believes building relationships with clients is about throwing money around. This approach may be seen as insincere or even manipulative, and it does not prioritize the needs and interests of the client.

4. Good answer:

"I approach building relationships with clients by first understanding their needs and expectations. I make sure to communicate clearly and frequently, setting realistic goals and timelines, and keeping clients up to date on progress. I also make sure to listen to their feedback and adjust my approach as needed to ensure client satisfaction."

This answer is good because it shows that the candidate is committed to a collaborative and responsive approach to building relationships with clients. It demonstrates a willingness to be flexible and adaptable to meet the client's needs and expectations.

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