Technological developments and globalization have enabled every industry to expand beyond its regions and acquire clients across the world. Yet long-distance relationships can be trying, making the challenge of maintaining loyalty even more difficult.
Recently, I was doing some research on client loyalty, and found a piece on the Harvard Business Review blog written by Dorie Clark, a strategy consultant. She addressed the challenges of maintaining a close and loyal relationship with clients in a world where electronic communications are encroaching on face-to-face chats.
While one of the benefits of this evolution has been the opening of global markets and the ability to serve clients outside your city, it can threaten the level of service a business can deliver. That doesn't have to be the case, Clark argues. She notes that nothing replaces giving clients your time at the beginning, as this lays the groundwork for the relationship and will enable you to maintain a relaxed back-and-forth over the phone or via email in the future. As you create a strategy to develop and deepen the advisor-client partnership, account for the fact that you will need to spend more time with clients in person at the outset.
Something I've mentioned in previous posts and what Clark suggests in this article is that it's also important to get to know the client a bit and share some information about yourself. This can put them at ease and demonstrates you're not only interested in selling.
Clark says "There's no substitute for in-person relationship building. But even from around the world, you can build loyal client relationships if you're strategic and focused."
How do you ensure your top clients are never off your radar? What tactics do you use to track major events in their lives? Do you have a strategy for staying at the top of clients' minds?
When trying to stay connected to all your contacts, be sure you delegate to technology. Create digital calendar reminders marking important events in clients' lives or in their finances, and schedule periodic check-ins where you contact clients even if there are no services to deliver. Tools such as Skype, Dropbox and social media make it easy to communicate with clients and share files and updates in whatever manner they prefer. Send out monthly newsletters and track social media posts or blogs that your clients may create - a quick comment or reply can show that you are interested in your clients' activities outside of their interactions with you.