Congratulations on your new business! You have the passion, energy, knowledge, and [hopefully] some resources to accomplish your vision of meeting the market’s need for your unique product or service. You [ahem, now aka your BRAND] are about to develop many, many relationships with individual clients and potential clients. And relationships are hard. Relationships require intentional work and oodles of communication.
From our perspective as a business strategy consulting firm, “client engagement” is the term that encompasses any interaction with our clients that reinforces our brand integrity and strengthens the relationship with the client. Interactions with clients range vastly from thoughtful recognition gifts for professional accomplishments to actionable feedback tools to the friendliness of the well-informed receptionist answering a client’s phone call. Every interaction – email, phone call, survey, personal note, gift, professional membership, referral, and on and on – has an opportunity for strengthening the client relationship and developing mutually-beneficial two-way communication.
All that a new business needs is a genuine focus on the client experience coupled with the desire to develop positive relationships with them. New businesses don’t employ a “Client Happiness” Coordinator to make sure all strategic client engagement activities are happening with perfect timing and high personal touch. New businesses don’t have financial means to employ marketing research firms to make sure clients are satisfied. New business owners don’t have time to create, execute, and monitor a large-scale client engagement plan. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make client engagement a priority!
Here are 7 free and easy ideas to foster a positive relationship with the individuals who support your brand:
· Personal thank you notes for their business and/or referral of new business
· Personal congratulations notes for professional accomplishments (and for an even more personalized touch, accompanied by a laminated newspaper clipping of the announcement)
· Recognition of long-term loyalty via note or gift (i.e., repeated orders, client anniversaries, etc)
· Regular feedback loops that let customers know that you care what they think – there are many free online survey tools that you can use (learn more about creating an actionable survey HERE)
· Referral of new business to your clients
· Follow clients on social media platforms and respond to their posts
· Shout outs on your blog or “featured” client success story
Why is creating a positive relationship with your client/customer so important? Satisfied customers will make repeat purchases, develop brand loyalty, promote your product or service, and refer new business. Satisfied customers will help you strengthen your brand and increase your profits. Satisfied customers will offer meaningful feedback that will help you improve and grow your business further.
BluePrint Strategy grows new businesses. We’re cheering for you! Schedule your consultation today!