As time passes it’s easy to forget to check in with clients, but simple things like sending thoughtful notes, a phone call or something more creative makes clients feel appreciated.
When clients feel appreciated, they’re more likely to continue using your services. When they don’t feel the love, they leave. A Rockefeller Corporation study revealed that 68 percent of clients leave because they feel neglected. Don’t leave your clients hanging until the next project or renewal, check in with them.
Denise Resnik, president of marketing and communications firm DRA Strategic Communications, uses technology to serve the interests of clients, but she knows that emails aren’t the only method of showing clients gratitude.
“We’ve been thanking our friends, families, clients and colleagues with creatively packaged holiday gifts. Nearly all involve chocolate! These gifts express what’s in our hearts. In more recent years, the gifts have included our son’s SMILE Biscotti,” Resnik said. “Expressing gratitude smartly, authentically and creatively can build relationships, distinguish your company and factor in to all kinds of good business decisions.”
Julie Jakubek, an Allstate agent, has been sending hand-written thank you notes for years and using a gift card referral program, ultimately helping with client appreciation and retention.
Jakubek and her staff also make sure to get to know their clients and are always honest and appreciative.
“Appreciation shows happiness in a workplace and that spreads to our clients,” Jakubek said.
Client relationship experts from Ideas Collide, DRA Communications and Tanya Wheeless Executive Leadership shared some pro tips on client appreciation. Spoiler alert: quality work and thoughtfulness are pivotal.
Matthew Clyde, president and founder, Ideas Collide:
- Provide quality work, anticipate needs and be attentive.
- Hold regular in-person meetings, dinners, events and small thoughtful gifts. For example, this year we invited someone of our clients to a local conference, Digital Summit, to hear us speak. Over the holidays we sent movie-related gift baskets for our clients and created a contest for clients and social media fans that gave them the chance to win an even bigger gift.
- Don’t let contractual obligations get in the way of providing quality work. If it takes extra hours, or additional iterations to get the right product in front of the client, we’re going to do it. Nothing can ruin an agency/client relationship faster than sending over sub-par work and claiming you can’t do anymore because you’re out of hours.
Denise Resnik, president, DRA Strategic Communications:
- Learn what clients value beyond the professionalism of the work at hand. Shared values go a long way toward building and sustaining relationships.
- Connect with clients by supporting their community concerns, nonprofit work and/or family priorities by sharing news/reports that may be of interest, attending events they sponsor, making a donation to their favorite charities or recognizing special occasions in other creative ways.
- If clients are active on social media channels, follow them, like them and share mutual interests!
Tanya Wheeless, president, Tanya Wheeless Executive Leadership:
- Clients hire you to solve a problem for them,so the best way to show the love is to deliver.
- Communicate early and often, especially if something is not going as planned. No one likes surprises, unless they’re the good kind, of course.
- Send clients a note when you see they’ve been recognized for something or check in when you know they are going through a rough patch.
- This holiday season, I sent clients and referral sources holiday notes thanking them for support and giving them a Starbuck’s gift card so they could take a friend to coffee on me. It’s not huge, but it was appreciated and I got some nice notes back.
- Most clients don’t need more cookies or candy, but they could all use more time.
- Give them homemade dinner on you by gifting them a few meals from Blue Apron. Usually anything that is thoughtful and personal will “wow” regardless of how much you spend.
– Written by Carolina Lopez, digital marketing administrator, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. This article is part of the Chamber’s monthly newsletter, Business Driver.