True story: More than a decade ago, I hired an attorney colleague to handle a legal matter for me (because an attorney who represents herself has a fool for an attorney and a client, as Ben Franklin once said). This attorney thoroughly explained to me the entire process before I hired him. His associate then proactively communicated with me throughout the entire case about what to expect, what was coming next, and what I needed to do when and how I needed to do it. She answered my emails promptly, and never made me feel like I was bothering her when I had a question or needed her help. That associate now owns the firm, and throughout the years, I’ve referred somewhere between 12 to 15 clients to her—many of whom have hired her and then referred to her as well.
Contrast that experience with an attorney I hired in another matter who never spoke with me once the initial retainer was paid except when I called and asked for an appointment, which I only did once because her staff was so rude on the phone. How many referrals do you think I’ve sent her?
My cardiologist spends at least a good hour with me every time a go, carefully reviewing all my data, asking me detailed questions, going over his notes, recapping. He even lets me text his assistant when I need to reschedule my appointment or have a prescription called in. I feel like a VIP.
My primary care doctor looks at me with a fake grin on his face like I’m a day-old salami sandwich with cheese that’s been plopped down on the end of his pristine examining table. I secretly hate him.
Who do you think gets my referrals?
After every procedure, my vet calls and checks on my bulldogs. When we call and leave a message with worried questions, he returns our calls, sometimes even late that evening. When we’ve had to say good-bye and let some of our fur-babies cross the rainbow bridge not only does our vet—who runs a very large practice—handle it as though we were his only client, he even sends a hand-written note. Dude, do you think there is anything I wouldn’t do to help that guy stay in business?
Depending on which study you read, it can cost anywhere from five to 25 times more to acquire a client than to keep clients who’ve already hired us coming back for more.
So, my question for you is: Are you so busy looking for NEXT that you are forgetting to love the one you’re with?
Once you retain a client, what systems do you have in place to ensure they feel like they are important to you and your business?
Notice, I said “systems.” I’m not suggesting you personally answer texts at all hours of the day and night, or interrupt your family dinner to answer phone calls from clients. (That’s solo thinking, not CEO mindset.) What I am suggesting is creating systems to:
* Clearly communicate your firm’s culture of high-quality service
* Set clear expectations at the outset so the client isn’t confused about what to expect
* Proactively communicate so the client doesn’t feel like they are required to chase you
* Train and empower staff to problem solve
* Remind clients of appointments and important dates and deadlines
* Routinely thank clients who refer others who become clients
* Ask for reviews and referrals from happy clients
* Remarket to satisfied clients who might need you in the future for other services or who might refer others