Membership has its privileges and clients are “members” of your company. No they aren’t part of the organization but they have partnered in using your service. So what privileges do they get access to? Most professionals use this question as an excuse to flaunt their expertise. While it’s true that clients get access to a valuable service, that’s what they are paying for. Clients don’t stay clients if they don’t get what they paid for. It’s important to make clients feel appreciated so that a strong bond is formed and loyalty is increased.
I belong to a professional association that sends out recurring newsletters and whitepapers. I remember receiving an email promoting an exclusive whitepaper for members. Pleased at the privilege of having access to the exclusive content, I downloaded the report. The information was useful and I went to the association’s website to look up some supporting information about the whitepaper. When I landed on the page, I saw a banner ad promoting this same report. I went to the homepage and saw the same banner. I was surprised to see the “exclusive” whitepaper was available to anyone that visited the site.
At the next event for the association I joked that the offer was exclusive, to exactly the amount of people that wanted to download it. However, I was surprised that many other members had noticed the discrepancy and were put off by it. Of course, part of the reason we were irritated was because the email messaging had duped us. But on a deeper level, it flaunted that we weren’t getting an extra bonus for being clients. This was a minor issue but one that the association had to deal with. Realizing they had made a faux pa, they sent out a follow up report with more detailed content that did remain member only. I was pleased with the second report that went more in depth than the initial whitepaper.
This is an example of how not showing special attention to clients can put them off. Even small gestures can increase loyalty. Ignoring client appreciation can be taken as small slights. Neither is going to make or break a client relationship but each makes a small difference in client loyalty. Remember client development is a game of inches. There’s no advantage to giving up ground for no reason.
So what initiatives do professionals have to make clients feel appreciated? Of course there are extravagant options like client appreciation events or gifts. These can be great ways to illustrate the value placed on client relationships. However, client appreciation doesn’t have to be grandiose. Small exclusive offers or making a client problem/request a priority is a smaller gesture that improves loyalty. Often the small gestures go further than more elaborate plans because it strengthens the idea of partnership in a recurring method.
Keep an eye out for making clients feel appreciated. We don’t need to fawn over clients, but reinforcing the idea that their account is important to us is critical to lasting client relationships.
Do you have a desire to not only improve your life, but also the lives of those with whom you associate personally and professionally?