Tips for International Education Consultants to build Client Rapport

Jun 30, 2016
international education consultants

Building client rapport is tricky. International Education Consultants often come across visa applicants who are very demanding. With so many clients wanting you to give priority to their visa application, maintaining good client rapport with all can be quite challenging.

It is a bad tactic to fuel your clients’ expectations because big promises often end in disappointment.

An upset client can do more damage than all the gains you make through publicity and study abroad seminars.

So it is important for all international education consultants to understand the basics of client relationship management to be able to handle client expectations.

Meet Basic Expectations of Visa Applicants

It’s pretty natural for clients to have certain expectations from international education consultants after they pay for the services. But things could go wrong when clients’ expectations go beyond what is reasonable and standard practice.

Some clients just drop in at your office without prior appointment or call you almost every single day. That is because they are totally sold on the idea that things won’t move forward unless they follow up regularly. While clients do have the right to know what is going on with their application, making frequent visits and persistent calls amount to nagging.

Explaining process, stages and time frames right at the beginning lays a solid foundation for a better client rapport. Tell them right at the beginning the time and the amount of attention you and your counselors can give to their case. Make it clear when and how often you can contact them. These terms can simply be the way your Agency operates or based on the industry practices.

What’s more? Clients expect companies to treat them politely and with respect. This does not mean that you, international education consultants, need to make any special effort to keep them happy. Basic courtesy applicable even to your relationships outside the agency setting would do. That you are in a hurry or were in a bad mood can be no excuse for ignoring clients or treating them badly.

Give Fair Assessment Of Visa Application

The Education Agency is no hospitality business. So the mantra “Customer is always right,” doesn’t always work in this sector. In this business, international education consultants have to correct clients even if it means challenging their deeply held opinion on visa-related matters.

If a client wants to proceed despite your reservation, be transparent with them about what are the chances of their visa application getting approved.

Making a wild guess is one thing, offering calculated assumptions quite another.

After all, that’s what clients pay you for your expertise. However, you have to cushion your assumptions with a word or two of caution.

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International education consultants need to be upfront and honest about uncertainties of the outcome so that in the end it should not seem like a deception. Many clients would think you have the expertise and connection to get them through. You need to explain to them that it is not the case and that there are factors that influence the outcome.

One way to deal with disappointment if things don’t turn out as expected is by building warm client rapport.

That will make them feel that you care about them and that you only give advice that is in their best interest.

Use Past Examples To Calm Down Upset Clients

Usually, the destination countries clearly specify the time frame and necessary documents required for processing a visa application. Still, some applications may take longer than the stated time frame and some applicants may not be successful despite strong documents to support their cases.

Although visa application process is a streamlined and systematic process, there are still a lot of uncertainties that can lead to a visa application being rejected.

When that happens, visa applicants may accuse you of not giving due importance to their case. They are likely to blame your negligence for their application being turned down.

The best way to console and convince clients about such uncertainties is by giving references to past cases. For example, if two visa applicants have similar academic records, skills set or professional experience, one of them can get the visa and the other can get rejected.

International education consultants can point to previous such cases to tell the clients that such rejection is not uncommon. Of course, if the clients are confident about their visa application they have the option to get it reviewed by the immigration tribunal.

Keep Digital Notes for a Personalized Experience

Keeping digital notes attached to the Clients information also helps you provide them with a personalized experience. Doing so will make your client feel safer and more confident around you. Providing a personalized experience is the key to client satisfaction and maintaining client rapport. However, notes can get lost be misplaced. This is why you should also consider using an educational agent CRM that can help you keep track of your client’s profile and personal preferences. It will definitely help international education consultants build better client rapport!