You might have sent your clients a special Valentine’s Day gift this year, maybe a box of chocolates or a gift basket. And while that’s certainly a lovely gesture, there are some other things you can do that will show your clients you appreciate them and help you serve them better.
One of the most meaningful ways to engage your clients is through spending time with them, like in a romantic relationship. And the same rules of selflessness apply here as they do to romance: when you’re spending time with a client, don’t use that time to sell them. Instead ask how their business is doing, how they’re doing as people, what challenges they’re facing, what they’ve accomplished recently. Be sure to listen to them (and record your notes from the meeting into COATS).
You can also engage clients by offering them educational programs on topics they’re likely to be interested in. If you specialize in a particular industry, consider having a brown-bag lunch to discuss recent industry developments. No matter what field you serve, you’re an expert in human-resources issues, and your clients are probably interested in learning more about those, especially issues with legal ramifications.
Another aspect of client engagement is touching base with your clients to see how you’re doing as a partner and service provider for them. Let them know that you’re not afraid to hear about what they think you could do better, and would welcome suggestions for how to improve. After these meetings, make genuine action items out of their suggestions and implement them; let your clients see that you take their concerns to heart.
Of course, if you’d still like to use some traditional client-appreciation techniques, there’s nothing wrong with that. Sending cards and gifts and holding events to say “thank you” are all effective tactics. To take it a step further, consider scheduling client appreciation events for clients in compatible businesses; not only will you show gratitude to your clients, you might be able to play matchmaker among businesses that can help each other.
Overall, the rules of client engagement are the same as they are for lasting romance: focus on the other party and what you can do for them. If it’s a good relationship, you’ll find that the more you do for them, the more you receive in return.
What sort of client engagement tools do you use? How have they worked? Let us know in the comments!