We’ve all lost clients from time to time, some of them very valuable. While it may not have been something we did, or something we didn’t do, it’s just one of those things that hurts business, and something we should keep to a minimum if at all possible. Clients switch from service to service sometimes because they hear of a discount, and often they find that service not up to par with the service you provide, and they call you back and resume business with you. Sometimes they never call back, and that’s where you can take the initiative. But the burning issue of the hour is: How can you make sure you are keeping existing clients, and not losing them due to some lack of effort on your part?
Be Willing and Attentive
Clients are often impressed by a willing attitude. If you sound like you’re not looking forward to working with them, the feeling may be mutual. If you show a willing attitude in your voice and countenance, they’ll be much more likely to look forward to doing business with you again, and might even refer you to their associates and friends. Be attentive to their descriptions of the issues they’re describing, and help them out when they find difficulty explaining exactly what is wrong. Often, people pretend they’re listening when they’re not, and falling into that trend isn’t a good practice. Basically, make the client feel they are important to you and your business, that they are your ‘number one’ client, and they’ll be much more likely to call you back for repeat work.
If you say you’ll be there by 3:30, be there by 3:30. If you’re running late due to an absolutely unforseen emergency, notify them as soon as you can, so they can adjust their schedule accordingly. Punctuality is one of those pet peeves for many people, and causes them no end of frustration. Repeatedly being late for appointments is enough for some clients to pull the plug on your relationship. It’s just another way of showing respect to the client as well. You’ve got things to do, and so do they, and they don’t want to have to wait around while you get there. Punctual workers often get repeat work because they’re dependable, and that’s very important in the business sector. Keeping your appointments is a good step toward keeping existing clients satisfied with your service.
This pretty much goes without saying. This is probably one of the most important things in your relationship with your clients. Honesty is one of the most valuable assets in the workforce, and when it’s missing, the work will disappear as well. This applies to charges on invoices, clear descriptions of work performed, billed hours, honesty regarding parts purchased, replaced, and repaired. If they find something has been less than truthful between you and them, don’t expect them to call you again. On the other hand, if you’re consistently honest in your business dealings, you’ll be much more likely to get repeat work and referrals. I can’t emphasize this enough. Honesty is very important!
Be Respectful and Courteous
This is also a very important aspect of the client relationship. Don’t badmouth clients to other clients, word can get around quickly, and you’ll find yourself at odds with other clients. Then those clients will start to wonder what you’ve said about them to other clients, and before you know it, you’ve lost the respect and trust of a whole chain of referred clients. If you’re interested in keeping existing clients happy with you and your service, show them the same respect you would expect from them, and you can’t go wrong.
Also, some clients aren’t as tech savvy as many technicians, and they may not know all the terms we use to describe parts and computer issues, and that’s not their fault. Everybody has their area of expertise, and while a mechanic can’t tell you what’s wrong with his computer, he can tell you what’s wrong with your car and fix nearly any problem it could have. So be respectful and courteous, and don’t belittle a client or speak with a condescending attitude. It’s easy to pick up, and it’s not likely they’ll call you back unless they are absolutely desperate. If you show them decent respect, they’ll be very likely to refer you to others and call you back for more work.
This is more or less optional, but it’s a good idea. If you’ve kept track of how long clients have been with you, or how many calls you’ve made on them, implement a bonus based on how many calls or how many years they’ve been a client. Perhaps you could offer a free light computer clean-up, or optimization. You could also offer some sort of discount on their invoice. This is also the type of bonus that is likely to get passed around by word of mouth. If they find out you give discounts based on how long clients have been with you, and good discounts at that, they’ll tell all their friends and associates so they can get good deals too. This can result in a lot of extra referrals. I know in one situation we were nearly overrun by all the clients who took advantage of this bonus idea, so it’s good to use it in moderation.
In conclusion, it’s mostly just the basics of any relationship, but often these basics are forgotten in business relationships. You’ve heard the phrase ‘it’s not personal, it’s business’. Perhaps that personal touch in business has been neglected, and that’s what’s missing from a lot of business relationships. It’s important to be professional, but don’t lose that personal touch that makes the client feel important. Just remember the fundamental basics, and you’ll be much more likely to keep all your existing clients, and gain referrals at a steady rate.