In these highly competitive times, it's become increasingly difficult to hold onto customers. Retention is tough, and client growth is even harder with fickle clients and fleeting loyalty.
It turns out, building deep, loyal, profitable client relationships isn't as complex as the DaVinci code. In fact, these three simple hacks can boost your client relationships to a whole new level:
1. Think "Clients" over "Customers". A 'customer' relationship implies a short-term, non-professional, transactional relationship. Buy gas or a burger on an out of town road trip, and you'll probably never do business with those establishments again. Here, it is only about maximizing near-term gain for the merchant, often at the expense of the customer. In contrast, think about a financial advisor who has served a client family for generations. Here, the advisor cares about the long-term and serves as the client's advocate. It is more about trust, service and care than making a quick buck. Even if you're in a traditionally transactional business such as a dry cleaner or auto repair shop, shifting your mindset from customer to client will yield a positive result. Change the language, and the results will follow.
2. Don't pass your own problems to your clients. Businesses are complicated. You likely rely on suppliers, people, subcontractors, equipment, and a whole host of things to deliver for your clients. And when one of these factors negatively impacts your work, it is easy to toss your hands in the air and explain to your client that it wasn't your fault: "The shipment didn't arrive. The contractor didn't show." Yet the true mark of a professional is delivering no matter what. They build in contingency into their model, and do whatever it takes to keep commitments. Your clients have their own problems and the last thing they need is to absorb yours. Don't make your issues your client's issues. Instead, take personal responsibility for delivering excellence even if things get messy behind the scenes.
3. Deliver 5% More. Too often, companies deliver the bare minimum. Or worse. Here's a simple trick to consider - whatever you promise your clients, promise yourself to deliver an extra 5%. Not 50% more, just five percent. I'm talking a little unexpected surprise and delight. If you make an internal commitment to provide a "compliments of the chef" extra with every client touch point, you'll elevate those clients to raving fans. They'll not only do more business with you for longer, they'll also spread the gospel. It only takes 5% more effort, but it can yield 100% more results.
There's little room for quick-buck artists and bare-minimum service in today's competitive business world. Instead, invest in your long-term success by embracing these three powerful hacks. You'll not only put smiles on the faces of your loyal clients, you'll boost your own bottom line in the process.