The small business guide to keeping clients sweet
Whether you’re an accountant, web developer or even a mobile dog groomer, you’ll no doubt be aware of the paramount need to keep your clients happy. Running a small business means your client portfolio will be much smaller than that of big firms but this just means you’ve got the space to offer a more personalised, dedicated and concentrated service.
Keeping a big beaming grin on your clients’ face is a sure way to keep your business moving in the right direction. Satisfied customers secure the circulation of positive word of mouth and lucrative recommendations, which are some of, if not the most successful methods of marketing. Cultivating a network of consistent clients who are satisfied with your service and paying regularly is much more effective than a stream of short-term customers who offer no longevity or security.
The business world is a brutal one and the marketplace is increasingly busy so when it comes down it, nobody is really indispensable. However, you need to make your customer feel like they can’t do without you and following our useful tips is a great place to start.
Do what you do really, really well – First and foremost, you need to make absolutely certain that you are offering your clients an impeccable service. This comes with great business management, employing the right staff and sticking to the deadlines you agree to. You also need to listen really closely to what your customer is saying in order to establish their individual needs and provide a tailor-made service. Abandon the one-size-fits all model and get to know them inside out then ask for some valuable feedback to gain insight into where you could better what you’re offering.
Then go above and beyond – When you’ve got this down to a T, go beyond the boundaries of what is simply required of you and provide your clients with that added extra je ne sais quoi. If they’re celebrating an important achievement or launching a brand new product, shout about it on your social media channels. If they’re starting a new project and need some guidance, put them in touch with one of your contacts. If they want to rant about the terrible weather for 20 minutes before starting your scheduled business meeting, let them get on with it. It’s these finishing touches that will make your clients feel valued and keep them coming back month after month.
Wear your heart on your sleeve – As the saying goes, honesty is the best policy and while admitting the truth when you make a mistake might be nerve-racking, it’s definitely for the better in the long run. We’re all human and we all muck up sometimes and your customers will understand that. Clients are far more likely to respect a business that comes clean about any setbacks over one that keeps them in the dark. Communication is key in all relationships and business relationships are no exception.
Reinvent yourself often – Just like communication, excitement is instrumental in the maintenance of any long-term relationship. Avoid your clients becoming bored and heading elsewhere to get their wow-factor fix by regularly reinventing your service. Launch new features and give customers a priority discount to show you value their loyalty and custom. Keep them on their toes and excited to see what you’re going to do next.
Make time for lunch – All work and no play makes business very boring so making a conscious effort to invite clients out for lunch or even just a quick coffee will go a long way towards strengthening your bond. Offer FaceTime phone calls, send handwritten notes, buy a bottle of wine when they’re celebrating, send personal birthday wishes – all of these tactics show you care. Keep it low key with this one though because you definitely don’t want to end up coming across as overly attached or desperate.
Remember, your clients have hired you to carry out a specialised service that they either can’t or don’t want to do, so it’s your job to keep it this way. It’s important to make life as easy as possible for them because if you don’t, they won’t hesitate to go out and find somebody who will.