You’ve done all the hard work in marketing and are now welcoming new enquiries, website visitors or clients, but how do you earn their attention, loyalty and custom and go on to enjoy a long term relationship with them?
Welcoming a New Client
It’s fantastic to attract a new enquiry, website visitor or client, but it’s absolutely crucial to welcome them in the right way to give your business the best chance in earning their attention, loyalty and custom and not let your marketing efforts be in vain.
Ensure your website offers clients not only solutions to their problems (products and services) but free help that will offer them a real connection to you and a positive feeling about your business. It can be as simple as a blog providing ideas and tips that your clients can gain some benefit from straight away – and it’s ok if those tips and ideas relate to your products and services. A great example is my Home Biz Feed blog – I try to provide articles that will benefit the type of client I am looking to attract and retain. There is no hard sell in my blog posts; instead they offer a form of connection to potential clients and a showcase of my clerical and business management skills. So while I provide free information and advice I am also making that initial connection and advertising my skills and knowledge – my core product. Another great example of a business that provides free information for customers is Beauty & The Boutique. They have a fantastic blog that provides a huge amount of free information. The tips showcased in their posts provide a great showcase of the knowledge of Katie, founder of Beauty & The Boutique and a very real and personal introduction to Katie and her business.
If you run a service based business like me, you can take the connection a step further. After receiving a new customer enquiry, post them a blank greeting card that you can complete with a small note thanking them for their enquiry, an offer to call you if they need assistance, your business card and perhaps something like a gourmet tea bag for them to enjoy.
Care About Your Product or Service
How often have you been disappointed to receive a product that doesn’t work or a service that’s poorly done?
Make sure you are not guilty of these business sins by ensuring you do the following:
- only sell products that are fit for purpose and offer good value for money
- only offer services that you have the skills for and are confident you can provide
- offer turnaround or delivery times that can be met.
Under Promise, Over Deliver
When you are trying to gain clients it can be tempting to say yes to everything and over commit yourself, but if you fail to deliver, chances are the client won’t return and may go on to tell others of their disappointment.
If you’re unsure you can complete a job in the time required by the client, be honest and let the client know you cannot meet their proposed deadline and offer them an alternate time/date that you can meet. Usually you will find the client happy to compromise a little, especially if you emphasise the quality of the service or product you provide.
Unusual jobs can be hard to estimate time wise and an option here is to offer to do a small portion or sample of the work, on which you can then base an estimate of the time required.
Get to Know Your Client
Don’t you love it when you favourite coffee shop or corner store greets you by name and is happy to see you? You can offer this same warm and fuzzy feeling to clients even when working online, just by investing a little more time in getting to know them.
You can use a few of the strategies I have listed below to engage more with your clients, but don’t try to remember everything – use an online CRM tool to help you keep track and set reminders. Zoho offers a great, free CRM system where you can get started and then try a few of these strategies:
- log if a client remarks they are going on holidays and ask about it in your next interaction
- record their birthday so you can be ready to congratulate them
- take note of their hobbies and past times
- log their most frequently used product or service
Before your next interaction with a client be sure to read their profile in your CRM so you can feel briefed and ready to connect.
A very simple one, but hugely important is treat your customer’s business and privacy with the utmost concern. Here are a few do’s and don’ts:
- do be respectful in your correspondence with clients
- do be grateful to your clients and let them know in small ways, often
- do be honest with your clients
- do own up when you’ve made a mistake and offer them a solution
- do not sell your client lists… ever!
- do not refer to your clients by name unless it is something positive and public knowledge.
After you have made a sale or completed a job, follow up with your client to see how they are feeling about the product or service and gain some feedback. I like to include the following line at the bottom of an email when I am sending a completed job:
“I hope this is helpful, but if you require any changes or amendments to this document please don’t hesitate to let me know as I am here to help.”
The line invites (but doesn’t demand) feedback from my client and also conveys my willingness to help with anything further. But if you prefer to follow up a little later a good rule of thumb for following up with clients is:
- Product – 7 business days after delivery
- Service – 3 business days after completing work
You can take this a step further by creating a simple customer survey that you can distribute with a link using the free survey options found at Google Forms or Survey Monkey. If you need a little help designing your survey, do read Stacey Barry’s article Five Steps To Simple and Actionable Customer Surveys that provides help designing a simple approach that gives you punchy customer feedback, without overloading the customer with a thousand and one questions..