As business owners, we are always told that we should “engage with our clients”. But where is this ever spelled out? I’ve never seen this in any textbooks or any marketing lessons. Why is it that something so fundamental isn’t the number one lesson in all marketing classes?
In my journey of building my second million-dollar business, I made it a point to document all the policies and procedures for our own Client Happiness Coordinator. Since then, I have used these materials to help dozens of other business owners create raving fans by engaging their clients.
Based on that work, here are 7 surefire ways to Drive Client Engagement & Create Raving Fans.
- Client Happiness Calls: By far and away, this is the lowest cost marketing tool you have available and the most effective. Reaching out to your existing clients, whether to make sure they had a good experience onboarding with you, to see if they have any updates that would increase the value of what you deliver to them, or just to help them feel well taken care of, far and away produces results more immediately than anything else you could do or spend money on. In our experience, clients who were happy with our services are wonderfully surprised and even happier to hear from us, particularly when we ask them what else we can do to make their world better. That may not be directly to do with one of our products or services, it may be with simply a suggestion or a referral, but there are always things we can do to help make things better for our clients. Take the time to reach out to your clients, and you will be creating an army of raving fans.
- Note Card Engagement: In today’s digital world, there is a particular delight in receiving a physical card from someone you know, rather than the mundane bills or magazines. It’s nice to see the Postal Service be used for something other than delivering junk mail. Setting up a business system to regularly send out cards to your clients and acquaintances can make all the difference, even if just to share a note that you were thinking of them or as a thank you. Even acknowledging a new position they have taken, a celebration, or a new member of their family (whether child, dog, cat, or otherwise) is a powerful way to create that personal connection and make you memorable to a client or customer. Whether you like paper and ink or jumping on an online card service like SendOut Cards, create an easy system and use it. You’ll be rewarded with thriving clients who are also raving fans.
- Sending gifts: The most common form of “client engagement” that I hear about is when people think they have to send expensive gifts to their clients. Sending gifts doesn’t have to be about heavy price tags. They often can be small and thoughtful items that show that you’re listening to your clients, you understand their interests, and that you care about them. It is, to quote the saying, the thought that counts, and nothing shows thoughtfulness more than giving something a client needs, wants, or values. Common small items range from things like sweet goods (e.g., cookies, brownies, etc.) through to things such as books, bookmarks, or journals. You can also take time to think outside the box and find other small gifts that relate to a conversation with a client or one of the client’s goals, or even your brand. There are so many things that can be low cost but so very effective at showing that you truly care for your clients
- Turn Complaints into Satisfied Customers: Every time we receive feedback from a client, we should see this as an opportunity to turn this person into a raving fan. Thank them for bringing the issue to your attention and immediately assure them you will look into it with a view to taking appropriate action. Then take the time to investigate and come back with proposed solutions to secure their buy-in. Many customers will appreciate that you at least took the time to investigate and try to find a better way. Even if you can’t fix a situation and they are less than 100% satisfied with the final resolution, your responsiveness plus quick handling of the complaint and process can quickly turn them into a lifelong client and, in most cases, a fan.
- Testimonials: When you have happy clients, it’s great to feature their joy and showcase the value they received from your company. Once you have their permission, definitely use their positive remarks about what you and your team did for them to tell the story to the world of what your company can do. Do be cautious that not everyone wants to see their full name out there, so always stay within the disclosure parameters you agreed to with a client. Customers and clients are often thrilled when they see that you’ve used their kind words on your website, on social media, or in other places. Key point: you can repurpose those testimonials and use them a multitude of times.
- Client Surveys: The best way to find out how to better serve your clients is to ask them. Surveys help us reach out and ask what else they want and what we can do to better to deliver true value to clients and customers. You should be cautious not to over-fatigue your clients with too many surveys, but periodic surveys with different focal points are fine, and can be very helpful to gather that insights and information. This helps your business be stronger and create those raving fans precisely because you asked them to help you make what you do for your clients even better. By surveying them and taking their input into account, they implicitly became invested in your success.
- VIP Referral Program: One of the most underutilized techniques to engage clients is to reward them when they send more clients your way. This creates a behavior where they want to send more and more clients your way. This is a gift that keeps on giving, since your clients become even more motivated to help you grow your business
I have found that having someone on my team who spends 10 hours a week, doing nothing but client happiness, is one of the most effective positions on my team that, in fact, increases our revenues over time. It also helps us get in front of any issues that clients may have by obtaining their feedback and learning what else they want that we can offer or how we can make an existing service or product better in their eyes – in other words, more value for them.
Client engagement is firmly at the heart of building a successful business. Now that you have the surefire ways to leverage client engagement, it is time to build the systems that will seamlessly make client engagement part of your business.
Kristen David, a former trial lawyer and partner who went from working 85 hours a week and taking home way too little money in her law firm, built it up to a million-dollar-plus business, then sold her shares and pivoted into a business coach guru. She is now an international speaker, bestselling author, and operates a successful business, empowering business owners to build thriving, profitable businesses that are self-managed with systems. She helps busy business owners build those systems by implementing policies and procedures the Fast Track Way.