The other day a local business lady said “I really need more clients”. Well, most of us would like more. However, what our friend was really saying was that she had lost quite a few recently. I could tell why that is, but she is rather in denial.
The business in question is complementary therapy. That sort of practice involves personal relationships and clients or customers coming back on a regular basis, whether weekly, fortnightly or monthly, or now and again when they feel like a little pampering. A business like that has to be there when it is needed. Not of course in the middle of the night, but regularly on a consistent basis.
On the road again
Our friend has in the past couple of years twice taken three months off to travel. It is true that during one of those she left a “locum”, but of course that involves a different person and a new relationship for the customer.
Then she moved the centre of her business, her treatment room, by six or seven miles. All those customers who found it convenient to just pop down the road to see her no longer could, especially juggling time around their working hours and the school run. They just don’t have the time and don’t want to drive.
Our complementary therapist was not thinking about her customers, or at least not realising that they would not follow her to the end of the earth or even to the end of town, They felt let down too, and messed around by the absences. If they wanted to be pampered it was better to try to find someone else who was more reliable.
Reliability is absolutely vital for any business offering any sort of service, whether it is complementary therapy or accountancy. Clients expect consistency. They come to expect that nice warm feeling of being looked after. They don’t want to phone up and ask for someone, only to be told that she or he is on holiday for three months or has moved to another location much further away.
Being there when needed is what customers expect, and why shouldn’t they? They provide us with our income, and while we see them as people they are our most important asset. Shouldn’t we work hard to keep them?