One of the attorneys I’ve worked with over the years is a wonderful fellow.
Family man. Very personable. Knows his stuff. Gets done what he’s hired to get done. A real credit to his profession.
So what was always so disconcerting after he’d finish a matter for me was this utterly abrupt end to our communication.
And I mean A-brupt. Every time.
It’s crazy, because whenever I’d contact him again on something new, we’d pick up as if we’d just spoken yesterday.
Yet, at the end of each project, I couldn’t help feel as if I’d done something wrong.
Was I a horrible client? I don’t tend to think so because being an independent service provider myself, I’m always very conscious about how I treat other service professionals.
I know what I don’t care for in clients and I make sure I am the kind of client I would want for myself.
I clearly communicated my needs, made sure I understood what to expect and I always paid on time (and as you know, attorneys are not inexpensive).
But I’d never get so much as a thank you for my payment.
All communication would just end completely until the next time I had need to call on him.
And then it would be, “Hey, Danielle! How’s it going?” as it nothing was amiss and we were long-lost buddies.
So I got to thinking:
- How many of you business owners out there are failing in your end game?
- What are you doing to nurture your relationships?
- Are you making sure clients and customers feel welcome to contact you again?
- How are you helping them in between services?
In answer to these questions, here’s a list I drew up that I think will be very helpful to you if you are neglecting your all-important follow-up act. Clients want to know you like and appreciate them — before, during and after your interactions.
1. Thank your customers and clients. It seems simple enough, right? I mean, it’s just good manners. But as I shared in my story above, sometimes it’s the most obvious things that fall through the cracks. So be sure and thank your clients and customers. And I mean something beyond simply typing a line on your invoice template. Automate it or delegate it if you have to, but do go to the extra effort to thank people in a more deliberate way for their business at the conclusion of your interactions. Each and every time.
2. Ask them what’s next. Find out what projects or goals they’re thinking about currently or that are on the horizon. Not only is this good relationship-building, but it’s also a great way to find out where there are more opportunities to business together.
3. Be a knowledge center and resource. When you make the effort to know a bit more about your clients and target market, and where their interests are, you can pass on information that you think will be useful and of interest to them. You can do this individually and/or use the information to come up with relevant topics for your blog and/or ezine. “The list is the thing!” as they say, and I can’t stress enough how perfect an ezine and blog are for this task. As long as you are providing content that is of value to your clients/target market, this is a fantastic way to keep in touch, maintain connection and rapport, and create your own marketing pipeline. While you’re delivering all this great, helpful information to subscribers, it also gives you a platform to keep them informed about the goings-on in your business and remind them about services you provide that they might not know or remember (hint: refer back to #2).
4. Invite them into your networks. Hey, you’re not the only one looking to make connections. Inviting your clients and customers into your social/business networks is a nice gesture, gives them opportunities to make new contacts, and keeps them in your pipeline as well. They might even extend the favor back.
5. Be a referral source. Know what your customers do. Ask your clients what makes a good referral for them. And then spread the word. One good turn tends to result in another.
6. Get their feedback. Clients appreciate the opportunity to be heard. It shows them you care. Of course you want to know what you’re doing a good job, but don’t be afraid to look in the mirror if clients point out areas where you can stand to improve. This is pure gold to your business and you should be grateful for having those blindspots illuminated. Let them know how much their input means to you and that it will be used to make improvements whenever, wherever needed.
7. Let clients know how to refer business to you. Clients are people and most people like to help others. Clients who love their service providers enjoy spreading the word on their behalf. Tell them what makes a great referral for you and exactly who you are looking to work with. The more clear and specific you are, the easier you make it for them to send others your way and the more frequently they will do so.
RESOURCE: If you’re looking for a fantastic, comprehensive feedback form that can be adapted to any business, get our Client Feedback Form the ACA Success Store.
© Copyright by Danielle Keister for the Administrative Consultants Association. You are granted permission to republish this article only if used without alteration in its entirety with this copyright notice, title, article content, resource, and links left intact.