In the overall scheme of business, don’t most people assume you value their business?
While many business people think expressing appreciation for and to their clients is just a warm fuzzy thing that has no relation to the bottom line, that’s absolutely wrong thinking. There most certainly IS a bottom line benefit and it comes in the form of more referral business and increased client loyalty.
Survey after survey has shown that up to 68% of clients will leave a business, not because that company has done something horribly wrong, but because they don’t feel their patronage is appreciated. Here’s where you may be thinking, “well that’s not the case in MY business. MY customers don’t leave.” Maybe you’ve just been really lucky up to this point. Think of it this way – saying thank you to clients is like changing the oil in your car.
You know you’re supposed to change the oil regularly; let’s say for your car, it’s every 5,000 miles. If you don’t do it, your car’s not likely to stop running after 5,001 miles. You may even be able to keep going for 10,000 miles before you notice anything wrong. But at some point, your neglect will lead to engine damage. Now fixing the engine is going to be far costlier than having invested in a couple of oil changes along the way.
Make sure this doesn’t happen in your world by creating a system for your client appreciation efforts. If you have a system for doing things, less thought is required and you carry out exactly what you set out to accomplish. In fact, the easiest way to incorporate client and referral source appreciation into your business is to include it as part of your overall marketing plan.
To start simply, set criteria for when you send thank yous to people. What will you do when you get a new client? What happens when you receive a referral? What can you do upon completion of a project, the anniversary of your working together or a client’s birthday? Figure out all the occasions in your business that provide you with opportunities to show appreciation.
Then come up with appropriate tributes for each – handwritten notes, books, gift packages, etc – and instruct your assistant on how and what to send whenever that opportunity comes up. Whatever you decide is right for your business and image, consistently implement for sure results.
Lori Saitz is a nationally recognized expert in using gratitude to boost client retention and increase referral business. She is the founder of Zen Rabbit, which is a concierge type company specializing in helping business professionals “multiply profits through sweet appreciation.” What’s become known as The Gratitude Cookie™ is the main tool used to do that. To get a copy of her free Insight Report, “The Little Known Secrets of Gratitude and Reciprocity and How They Can Positively Super Charge Your Profits!” go to www.GratitudeProfits.com.