Staying in touch with our clients and customers


If you have a good relationship with your customers they just keep coming back

If you have a good relationship with your customers they just keep coming back

One way and another, this past year or so my family and I have seen a lot of doctors and nurses. On the whole we have been dealt with very well, but sometimes we have had to take the initiative in asking for help. That has been rather frustrating because we would all rather have our affairs managed by professionals rather than have to manage those professionals to have them provide their services to us.

If we are regular clients we expect our professional and many other service providers to be proactive and stay in touch, so that we do not have to ask. Not always, of course. For most people, a lawyer will be reactive because we go to her for help when we need it. That is the same as the local dry cleaner. If a suit needs cleaning we take it in. That’s it.

However, if we are accountants or opticians or dentists or business advisers, at the very least we need to check in with our clients regularly to see how they are doing and to remind them if they need to take action on something. I think we should make a point of speaking to them regularly. In other words, we need to maintain the relationship. Our clients and customers are our livelihood and they are people too, who like to feel wanted.

For other service providers it is worth making the effort to stay in touch with their customers. I appreciate even a Christmas card from the local curry house but I do not recommend just sending round-robin emails as a way of maintaining a relationship. Newsletters are useful but are no substitute for the personal touch.

In the same way that I would like our local doctors’ practice to invite us in for the regular health checks we are supposed to have but do not, surely we should all think regularly about all our clients’ needs and speak to them, whether visiting or on the phone?

Is not just being reactive a serious failing for so many in business? Are you proactive? How often to you call your clients or customers?

Why employment is the other side of the fence

I was talking recently to a senior manager of a major financial institution. She is by any measure a successful person, well paid and valued by her employer. She is a person whom one would describe as a serious IT techie as well as a manager of others. She knows how things work in the virtual world.

I was explaining to her about my blogging activities; how often I do it (which is quite often as you know), how I get inspiration and how I manage to blog regularly. Of course I explained a few of the tricks; how one should take advantage of “purple patches” to write a string of posts, how I schedule posts ahead as most serious bloggers do to take off the pressure of readers’ expectation that they will hear from me if they have such expectation. At the same time I can still write about a topical matter fresh in the public domain and slip it in to the stream. This part is perhaps for another post.

The senior manager said to me “I don’t know how you have the time”. Well, firstly, it is about time management, and secondly I write for pleasure to a large extent so some of the pieces are written in my leisure time. Mainly of course, I blog for the market, which means my market, my reputation, and my networking as well as for my friends. It is about marketing to people, and if there is a Google effect, all well and good, and there generally is.

The Googleplex welcome sign

What struck me though was the difference between the perception of a senior employee, driven by the work that comes in, and someone in business on their own account who has to drive the business to make money, to take the business forward and build a future, and of course have some fun along the way. It is the difference between being reactive as an employee and proactive as a business person. It is the difference between being bound by others and being free to make our own decisions.

What do you think?

© Jon Stow 2010

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