Software House Reveals Its Secrets to Building Long-Term Business Relationships: Insights from Acting CEO, Web Developer, and More
Long-term, stable business relationships are treasured by companies because they indicate professionalism, reliability, new business opportunities, and of course, additional income. Building those relationships, however, requires a clever blend of patience, experience, partnership, and understanding. We asked different specialists at Polcode about their secrets to forging those priceless business bonds. Below is our recipe.
Building long-term business relationships is a process requiring both psychological and technological approach. To keep things organized, we split the subject into two parts. Today, we’re focusing on partnership, trust, and soft skills required to build long-term business relationships.
#1 Gaining Trust and Partnership
Every long-term business relationship begins with a partnership. The statement is true for every industry, especially software development.
“We take long-term responsibility for the product, its development, and functionality. We have to look a few steps ahead, get into the client’s shoes and consider his business,” says Dominik Raś, Senior Project Manager at Polcode.
“As a reliable software house, we have to use our experience and knowledge to figure out what would benefit the client’s business both short- and long-term. If we see there’s room for improvement in areas that stretch beyond the scope of our project, we don’t keep that observation to ourselves. We share and advise,” says Dominik. For example, we can emphasize the need to focus on UX, which increases stability and business effectiveness. “We’re not just software suppliers but business partners,” he adds.
“There’s no partnership without trust,” says Marta Kozłowska, Account Manager at Polcode. “To build that trust, we have to give the client the feeling that his or her project is taken care of—that we have everything under control.”
#2 Focusing on Communication and Keen Interest
Having everything under control, on the other hand, requires seamless communication between the client and the developers. The client likes to know his or her project is in good hands. “Sending regular time reports and progress reports also strengthens trust. Thanks to status reports clients can more focus on developing their businesses,” Marta says.
“Regular meetings are most welcome,” says Dominik. “It might seem trivial, but you should always be prepared for a meeting and up to date with what’s going on in the project.”
Besides, project meetings with the client don’t have to revolve strictly around project-related matters—this is your time to show your interest in the project.
Janusz Pietrzyk, Polcode’s Senior Ruby on Rails Developer, has another advice. “Responsive communication. People who run businesses are usually driven and results-oriented,” says Janusz.
They expect you to come back with a reply in a timely manner, especially if the question is crucial to the project. So even if the problem verges on rocket science and will take you a lot of time to solve, “A simple, ‘Hey Elon, I’m looking into the problem, will update you as soon as I have something,’ is polite and always welcome in contacts with clients,” Janusz adds.
To deliver a great product, show interest in getting to know your clients’ business better. Step out of the constraints of the project scope and get a broader perspective. “In a long-running project you kind of do this by osmosis,” says Janusz. “Take initiative, which will improve business relations and help you with solving (and foreseeing) problems.” Proactivity is especially important when joining the project mid-way.
“Talking about useful trends, additional features, and new technological solutions that could further benefit the client’s product shows our eagerness and investment in the project,” Dominik adds. “Clients appreciate it.”
#3 Approaching Each Client Individually
“Every client is different,” says Wojciech Hyzopski, CEO at Polcode. “You always have to look at the client and analyze their needs, expectations, experience, and knowledge.”
All those elements define the client and the necessary approach and strategy to forge a strong business bond. “But I’ll let you in on a secret,” says Wojciech, “even though there are many different types of projects, one can identify two project categories specified by certain client needs and expectations.”
In the first category, clients expect the team to have considerable technical knowledge and to follow exact technical guidelines. Here, clients need technical professionals they can rely on. Ultimately, it’s the quality of the end product that is the motivator behind a long-term business partnership.
Conversely, there are also projects where business support and consultation are the most desirable factors. Offering clients technical insight regarding their business is an added value. This combination of consultancy and partnership is the foundation to build long-term business relationships with a software house. The key is a business concept that we turn into technicalities.
“Clients’ expectations and needs often change throughout the duration of a project,” says Wojciech. “At Polcode, we have the capacity to combine multiple approaches to meet project expectations and come up with a technical solution beneficial for the client’s business. We have considerable technical knowledge and at the same time, we have experience allowing us to advise the client from the point of view of their business. It’s a kind of technical business insight.”
#4 Solving Project Challenges
“We first have to split the problem into elemental particles, and then try to find the source of the difficulty,” says Dominik Raś. “Once that is established, we propose alternative solutions.”
With a few alternative solutions on the table, we sit down and discuss them to pick the one that best fits the client needs and will be the most effective product-wise.
“When conflicts happen, what’s important is the determination to resolve the problem and transparency in undertaken actions,” says Marta. “Rebuilding a long-term business relationship after encountering problems is of course possible with the two aboard,” she adds.
Transparency is of paramount importance. Clients like the feeling that nothing is hidden from them in small print, and that they pay for the work done on their projects and not “empty hours.” Transparency also helps us get out of difficult situations if they occur.
The Value of Long-Term Business Relationships
There are many approaches, strategies, and tools designed to help software houses maintain long-term business relationships. Over the years, we’ve come up with our own methods and strategies proven to strengthen business bonds with our clients. We always try to look at each client individually, providing solutions that exceed the client’s expectations. It’s not what’s in the project scope that matters but going beyond it.
Next week, we’ll focus on the tools and methods that help us maintain long-term business relationships.
Polcode is an international full-cycle software house with over 1,300 completed projects. Propelled by passion and ambition, we’ve coded for over 800 businesses across the globe. Have an interesting project in mind? Contact us. We’ll make sure our cooperation blooms into something extraordinary.