Customers are important to any business.
But in the Relational Economy, building lifelong relationships with your clients is paramount.
They say that it costs less to keep a client than to attract a new one, and that’s true in service-based businesses as well.
So how do you keep those clients? How do you turn those casual customers into lifelong fans who will stick with you for the long run?
Here are a few ways to do just that:
Remember the Little Things
In the Relational Economy, your relationships with clients are different.
You get to know them on a deeper level. They tell you about themselves and their lives. You hear about their kids, their careers and their spouses.
Your clients reveal these small nuggets of information to you, and it’s your job to retain that information.
To turn casual clients into long-term relationships, remember these important pieces of their lives. It’s even a good idea to jot down a few notes to keep in their client profile.
When you see your client, ask them about their brand new puppy. Remember their children’s names and use them when you ask the client how the kids are doing.
When I was planning my wedding, I told my massage therapist that I was going to Nepal for my honeymoon.
During my last appointment before my wedding, she gave me a small wedding gift: a Lonely Planet book on Nepal.
She remembered where I was going for my honeymoon, and the small gesture meant so much to me. That was over a year ago and I still see her regularly. She earned herself a lifelong client.
Remembering these small details goes a long way.
Keep in Touch
The market is crowded, and there are a lot of service providers fighting for a small number of consumers.
And sometimes, clients get distracted. They start with one service provider (you), and then out of convenience or forgetfulness, switch to another.
Sometimes, all it takes is a reminder that you’re there to turn these casual clients into lifelong customers.
That’s why it’s important to keep in touch.
Whether you have a Facebook group that you urge your clients to join so you can keep in touch with them there, or you physically pick up the phone now and again to remind them to make an appointment, you want to make sure that they remember you.
Make Their Lives Easier
There’s nothing worse than trying desperately to make an appointment with a business that is difficult to get ahold of.
It’s frustrating to have to go the ATM before you get a haircut because your hair stylist only takes cash.
Make doing business with you as easy as possible to keep those clients around.
Not only will adding bits of convenience into your business help you retain clients, it will also attract more clients.
You don’t want to lose people to your competitors who have systems in place that make your clients’ lives a bit easier.
Live and Breathe Excellent Customer Service
If I try to make an appointment with a Chiropractor and am told there are no appointments available for two weeks, I might be annoyed.
But if I’m then given some personalized stretches I can do in the meantime to make my neck feel a bit better, and the business offers to put me on the cancellation list, I am one happy client.
Delighting your customer will set you apart from your competitors who don’t do the same, make your client remember you and turn your casual clients into lifelong customers.
Be Adaptable and Keep up with Market Trends
Trends come and go, and as a business owner and service provider, you need to stay on top of emerging trends.
If you own a nail salon and don’t take the time to learn a new, popular technique, you’ll lose the casual clients who want to try the trend. Those clients will go to a service provider who learned the technique.
If you own a health club and don’t offer yoga when yoga is very popular in your area, you risk losing your clients to a club that does offer yoga.
To turn casual clients into lifelong customers, you must keep those clients around. Be adaptable and pay attention to what your market is demanding.
As a business owner, you want to turn those clients you’ve worked so hard at attracting into lifelong business relationships.
Keep in touch with them. Remember bits of their lives. Be adaptable and make their lives easier. And remember, always try to delight your customer. Set yourself apart from your competitors and keep those clients close.