In a recent industry niche meeting, it was discussed how 60% of the niche’s revenue for FYE 2014 was derived from only 10 clients, representing roughly $4.8M. Wow. It was a great reminder about how important “World Class Client Service” and nurturing the client relationship really is! The loss of a good client can dramatically affect our ability to grow our firm.
I am a big fan of Zappos, a mega-online retailer who truly understands the value of great customer service. I recently read an article referencing Zappos, “Want a Competitive Advantage? Focus on Customer Experience.” One thought particularly resonated with me:
“Today, whether you’re selling online or off, focusing on customer experience should be as important a part of your integrated marketing strategies as anything you’re doing with regard to search engine optimization, social, content, lead gen and the like. If you do all these other things without focusing on delivering a great customer experience, chances are good it won’t matter.”
We certainly have a strong marketing culture here at our firm, with proven results of increased brand awareness and new business. However, as pointed out in the above statement, all of our marketing efforts won’t matter if we don’t retain our clients. Remember, they need and require the services we provide, but choose to remain our clients. Here are a few tips to help you make a positive impression with our highly valued clients:
- Respond to client calls or emails as quickly as possible. A timely response makes them feel they are top priority to you, and everyone likes to feel that way.
- Take the time to actually speak with them at least once a month, if not more often. Pick up the phone and make a call. Or arrange a time to stop by their offices just to see how things are.
- Take clients out to breakfast or lunch (I call this a meeting without an agenda) besides getting to know our client better personally use this time to discuss what is keeping them up at night, and see if you can help find a solution. We have a deep well of talent of expertise at our firm, as well as a vast network of resources of those services we do not directly provide (insurance, investments, payroll, etc.). We can likely help solve any problematic issue they have. Be a problem solver for our clients and elevate yourself to a trusted professional.
- Make it a point to let our client know you value their business, and are genuinely interested in their business. Check out their website on a regular basis to see what they are up to. Share an article you just read that pertains to their industry. Let them know you truly care.
- Don’t be afraid to get to know our clients on a personal level. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn how much you have in common. Ask about their family; ask about their interests. Consider sending a note on their birthday, or a gift when a new grandbaby has arrived. Be a friend in business.
It’s the little things that go a long way in preserving our client relationships and solidifying your role as trusted advisor. Frequent touches with our clients helps to ensure they are our clients for many years to come.