January 11, 2012

Have you been Following Up Effectively?

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Do you think your follow up strategies are working? Some say the key to following up with your clients is to actually follow up. Though this is perfectly true and some do fall behind, it's all about following up effectively. Following up effectively doesn't mean just focusing on expanding business with new or prospective clients, but also maintaining your relationships with existing clients.

Prioritize. It can be challenging to manage multiple clients at a time. This is where you should start prioritizing clients for relevant follow-ups. It's important to categorize your clients to make sure you focus on those who are most important, as well those who have the potential to make an impact for your business. Effectively categorizing your contacts for relevant and timely follow-ups is probably the most challenging factor when building your client relationships. You should take a leap of faith and believe in building all of your relationships to prioritize contacts effectively.

Timing. So how often should you follow up with clients? Obviously, you don't want to drive away clients by being too pushy, but give the client a reason to contact you instead. Sure, you've been sending follow-up emails and calling them once in awhile, but why not indirectly follow up with clients? Send a holiday card, a birthday card, or a token of appreciation to let them know you value their relationship. Instead of being a one-hit wonder in their books, maintain a stable relationship from the beginning, and hopefully, it'll never end.

Feedback. Have you ever heard that "the customer is always right?" Well, many employees would agree that the customer is not always right. But what does this have to do with following up? Well, when you follow up with a client, make it a point to guarantee customer satisfaction. Instead of following up with offering new products or services, ask your existing clients how they've felt throughout their entire experience, and gain feedback to improve your products or services. In addition to making sure your client's needs are being met, make sure they know you appreciate their opinion, and that you're open to feedback, whether it be positive or negative. If one client has a strong opinion, there's a high chance that there are many more who may have the same concerns about your services. By taking into account client feedback, you get a chance to make room for improvement and increase customer satisfaction.

Retention. A huge advantage to maintaining follow-ups with clients is client retention. Harvard Business Review reported that companies could increase profits by up to 85% simply by decreasing customer defections by 5%. Customer retention is the most important thing you can do to benefit you or your company. By constantly following up with existing clients, and keeping in touch to remind them how you helped them, clients will keep you in mind for repeat business, as well as for referrals. Word-of-mouth referrals can be one of the most effective ways to use your existing clients to win new customers.

Any other strategies you've used in order to follow up with your clients effectively?