Staying in touch is a two way street !

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Business owners think that retaining clients is all about the reminders they send out about pending services due.  They also think its about fancy fliers and post cards, incentive marketing, and maybe expensive websites.  Those are all good, but they don’t do the full job !

Clients want to know that you care about them and you are available when they have a need.   This doesn’t come in the mail, or by email, or a discount coupon.  Showing a client they matter happens when you are receptive to contacts they initiate.

If you go on a website, fill out a form, and don’t hear back, what is your impression of the company you wish to contact.  If you call and spend 10 minutes on hold or wading through a complicated phone tree, are you impressed that the company cares about you ?  If you send an email request for help, how valuable do you feel when you get no response?

Sending out the reminder cards and letter really helps.  However, how do you expect the client to respond ?  Is that channel open ?  Will they find getting your help is prompt, easy, and friendly ?

Consider the person who receives an email from you about a service due.  They “Reply” to the email and ask when it would be convenient to come in.  You don’t reply.  They know the service is due, and you had your chance.  Now they call someone else, then when you finally respond, you’ve already lost them.

I always encourage shop owners to be sure their email is checked throughout the day.  I hear way too often “I just don’t have time.”  I encourage them to make sure anyone answering the phone takes a message, double checks the name and number, gets it to them immediately, and the call back is performed in minutes, not hours.  Again, “but I’m so busy”.  If that’s the case, you’re understaffed and in trouble already.

If you are going to send out any communications, make sure you respond to the reply you receive, and do it quickly.  As for those annoying phone trees, don’t use them.  The time you think you save may equal the number of clients who are offended and take their business elsewhere.

jf you hire a company to do your follow-up, make sure they also have great incoming communication capability.  It does make a difference.  Don’t let the money you invest in your original communications be wasted because you have failed to open a dialog quickly and easily.  The business you save will make a difference in your bottom line.