Murdered by Interns: Targeted Coaching for Important Relationships 

Murdered by Interns: Targeted Coaching for Important Relationships 

Almost every company has that one particular V.I.P. client that requires a little extra nuance to serve. They might be picky, they might be a little demanding, but you’ve grown to understand their idiosyncrasies and have formed a healthy working relationship over time. It probably took a lot of effort and trial-and-error to form a deep understanding of what this client wants. Similarly, it will also take targeted coaching to educate your interns and newer workers about how they can work well with your client too.

Don’t let inexperienced employees murder your important relationships. Instead, take steps to enlighten your new people about specific client interactions.


Share Your Insights

One very common mistake, especially among higher-level account handlers, is keeping all of their interactions guarded and secret. If you don’t inform newer employees about your clients and help them break the ice, they’re never going to know how to keep them happy in your absence.

In fact, this is one of the easiest ways you can lose that client forever. If for some reason you’ve never shared your personalized client interactions with anyone in your company, then it’s likely your colleagues will make a mistake at some point that could burn those bridges.

As a simple case example, let’s say one of your top clients is a trade union that prefers all of its orders to come from union vendors. If one of your well-intentioned interns doesn’t know about this preference, they might arrange a purchase from a non-union vendor. Even though the intern may handle every other part of the order correctly, the client may decide not to return because their preferences were ignored.

One simple mistake can cost you a lot of business. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening by building a greater understanding of the client.


Involvement Matters

Every minute of exposure to client interactions is a learning opportunity for your interns and new hires. That’s why it’s such a good idea to increase involvement in the relationship management process. Your intent should focus on educating your new employee and then building confidence through increased touchpoints, likely gradually at first followed by further levels of responsibility.

Begin with the foundational details like what the client does, who they serve, and what their interests are in your company. You may be surprised by what you also learn during this step, as teaching is a great way to learn more about things.

After the fundamentals, it’s time for some shadowing. Networking events, open houses, and gatherings like holiday events provide an initial low-pressure way for your new person to meet your clients. Beyond that, it would be a good idea to start bringing your new person with you during meetings, deliveries, etc., so they can start observing your rapport and learning more about the client.


Engagement Comes Next

Next, after your new people gain a better understanding of the client’s business model, you can start challenging them to find ways to further develop that client account. Any types of new ideas or service offerings can be a potential option for extra revenue for your company. That’s why it’s a good idea to give your interns or new hires the opportunity – at least in-house – to find ways to build upon your existing relationships.

As they consider these ideas, your employees will continually be looking at your clients from various perspectives that’ll provide them with an even greater level of contextual understanding of their needs and goals.

In a way, you can think of this as potentially profitable hands-on learning experience that you can (safely) monitor and steer. It’s also a good way to increase your own company’s knowledge base to preserve your client relationships over the long term.


Empowerment is the Last Step

Ultimately, the final destination in this process should be empowerment. With enough guidance and instruction, newer employees should eventually be allowed to take the reigns and work with your clients on their own.

If you developed a good support system of several individuals at this level, then your long-term client relationships will conceivably be well insulated from the vulnerability of being managed by one single person. With more people informed, you’ll likely encounter fewer account-related errors as well.


Too Important to Lose

If you want to protect your client relationships, you’ll get the best results by opening up and sharing your insights with others. Take the time to properly inform your new people and involve them in more of your client interactions. It’s an investment in the preservation of that account that will likely bring you continued returns over time.

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