A friend told me a story about an acquaintance that had a business problem and needed help with a service. This person had hired a company in the past that should have been able help meet that need. Unfortunately, he had not heard from this company in several years. Instead of contacting that company, he sought out another to solve the problem.
In any business, staying in contact with clients is vital. Here are a five fundamental ways that you can stand by your clients and keep them coming back to you to provide their business solutions.
- Be Available
How many times have you emailed a company and have not received an answer? How many times have you called a company, left a voice message and did not receive a phone call back? Returning emails and phone calls is an absolute must to keep the line of communication open. It is also the polite thing to do.Several weeks ago, I went out of town on business during the week to meet with a client. Another client was concerned about a recent change that was made on their website. I gave him my cell phone number to contact me in the event of a problem. This client did call my cell phone with questions and concerns, and thanked me for being there.
It is important to listen to your customers and to offer solutions. Recently, a client called and described a new website that she was envisioning. Her vision included a lone large graphic on the home page that would include links to areas on the graphic for navigation. She also wanted to include music from a popular recording artist.
I carefully explained that one large image with image links would not be beneficial for search engine optimization, and that including copyrighted music that immediately played when the web page was opened may not be a good idea if someone opened it in a business environment. I then expressed that the decision was ultimately up to her, and she thanked me and decided against both.
Nurturing your relationship with your clients takes time. The more you know about their likes, dislikes and how they think will help to nurture the relationship. Taking a personal interest in your clients will help to develop a mutual understanding and respect to keep them coming back.
We are all busy, but taking quick notes about pertinent information does not take a great deal of time and your clients will appreciate that you remembered. For example, if one of your clients recently has a baby, write down the baby’s name and birth date. In the future, you might like to ask how that one-year-old baby is doing.
A simple thank you goes a long way. Showing your appreciation for your client’s business is crucial. Everyone wants to be appreciated and by expressing your gratitude by phone, email or a card will help to keep the lines of communication open and will show your clients that you value their business.
I have a friend who tells the story about an important job interview he went to. After the interview, he wrote the potential new employer and thanked them for their time. Several days later, he received a phone call that he had been selected for the position. He was told that the candidates all had similar skills and education, but the thing that separated him from the crowd was that he took the time to say thank you.
- Stay in touch
Staying in touch with your clients will go a long way to keep your clients coming back to you for their business needs. There are a many ways to stay in touch including email and phone calls to touch base on a personal level. The saying, “out of sight, out of mind” is an old one, but still holds so much truth. By keeping in contact with your clients, you will be letting them know that you are available and that you care.
One of the businesses that we have hired took a unique approach and instead of sending holiday cards to clients, they send out Thanksgiving cards with hand written notes expressing their appreciation for our business. This stuck out in my mind and made a lasting impression.
In any business, standing by our clients is an essential priority to cultivate and grow the Know, Like and Trust factor that will keep them coming back for your services and/products. It reminds me of the song, Stand By Me by Ben E. King. How many people do you think are singing this song about companies they have done business with?
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me
Whenever you’re in trouble won’t you stand by me
Oh stand by me, oh won’t you stand now, stand
Stand by me
Do you have any creative ways to help you stand by your clients?