How Can We Encourage More Return Visits For Our Services?
Repeat Custom Is Vital For The Well-Being Of All Businesses!
"Profit in business comes from repeat customers:
customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them."
(W. Edwards Deming, management guru)
1.Encourage past clients to return - itsuits everyone
(They may be called repeat clients, returning clients or renewing clients.)
This helps both firm and client:
- It saves client's money and time spent shopping around and building a new working relationship.
- It costs you 6 to 7 times less than attracting new clients, the Solicitors Regulation Authority says.
And a "...major new Law Society research that shows repeat clients are by far solicitors’ biggest source of work".
- And because the trust is already established, the scope of work may expand.
In the retail sector, repeat customers spend on average 33% more each time than first-time customers. A similar uplift probably applies to the satisfied clients of professionals, as a result of trust already present and the accumulating mutual learning.
Most customers in almost any industry leave their current supplier because they felt ignored or taken for granted.
It does not take much to prevent these feelings building up.
"Although big businesses are at an advantage when attracting customers, it is SMEs who are in a stronger position when it comes to client retention" says the Federation of Small Businesses.
Quietly Mention The Option At Intervals
Work actively to introduce a quiet awareness of the possibility.
Instead of hoping that previous clients will remember you kindly when they next have need of professional services in your sector, you can take steps to make that more likely.
- Mention working together again in the future at several points during your contact with them.
Think of it as advertising to an audience of one - it can be done extremely quietly and gently. It is not so much dropping hints as being factual about the option because many clients do return - and those that don't may have preferred to return but didn't realise that they could.
- Optimise your description to make client's choice easier.
Talking about future work might feel a bit awkward for professionals, which might tempt them to use obscure descriptions or professional jargon. Finding comfortable words and phrases that almost anyone would understand is best for everyone.
- Keep old clients and customers aware of situations where your services will help them.
Most past clients will have feelings in the range of neutral to grateful - especially if you already checked whether it was OK to stay in touch occasionally. Retain clients by reminding them of your ability to help - especially in situations you reasonably know to be relevant.
You can also predict when they might want your services next and contact them quietly them know in advance…
2. Make Great Clients - From First-Enquiry To Loyal-Client
Repeat business from past clients is the reward of a well-managed Client-Attracting Pathway.
This takes a senior manager's consistent and systematic attention to all 12 steps.
do you want To bring More Clients To Return For Your Services?
The full Client-Attracting Pathway has twelve stepping stones, and the last three are the most important for your business health. They influence repeat business, recommendations and reviews and timely fee payments.
9. Welcoming Process
– to improve client satisfaction, cooperation and later retention
10. Reassurance on Security
– confidentiality, privacy, GDPR, etc
11. Liaison meetings, phone-calls & emails
– to reduce upset, bring relief & invite return – for a good experience
12. Fee Notes
– to prevent problems and promote positivity
It seems likely that your Welcoming Process is the key step in encouraging clients to return.
This might seem counter-intuitive until you include the power of first impressions. Recent research shows that initial feel-good factors in decision-making die off at a rate of 50% over 4 months.
So it is important to use your website to encourage clients to return for more assistance from you.
Actively plant the idea of helping with future issues in your marketing from the very start.
And it is important to design each later stepping stone to quietly promote this idea with other small mentions.
1. While you are working with the Client - for example:
- At the end of liaison meetings or phonecalls
- On paperwork - especially on Fee Advice Notes
- And most obviously in Final Review meetings
2. After you have finished working with the Client
- Thank You card on receipt of final payment
- Newsletter case examples
- In a Client Satisfaction Survey
And if your subsequent follow-up letters, emails or phone-calls encourage previous clients to revisit your website to find something either immediately useful or interesting/amusing, that is likely to keep the relationship bond alive.
Start early - you can plant seeds from the very first contact potential clients have with your website. All our development projects can incorporate this objective: see Just The Essentials, The Full Website and The Complete Pathway.
3. Encourage Happy Clients To Reassure First-Timers
Perhaps the most powerful advertising tool is the praise of past clients.
Research into how people cooperate, undertaken by Google, shows that 'psychological safety' is a key factor. Without this feeling of safety, people do not trust and rarely advance into unfamiliar territory.
While you can provide all the technical information potential clients want, they are likely to want to know about YOU - the people and the firm. But if you make large claims, like "our staff are always friendly", many people will 'take it with a pinch of salt'. They will perceive it as biased.
But they will believe it much more when third parties confirm that you are good people.
And people will believe online reviews and testimonials even more if some of the past clients offer slight disappointments. This is because if references about you are 100% perfect, it seems suspicious to most people. Ideally, you want to be seen as human AND very helpful in your areas of trained expertise.
PS All 12 Attracting Steps Work Really Hard For Happy Clients
Outcome is only one part of clients' good experience.
Every stepping stone must be in the right place, reliable and helpful.
Your aim is for clients to feel good about your service whilst using it, and already committed subconsciously (at least) to returning later when the need arrives.
But also there's a surprise bonus (see next page).
Repeat business is not the only benefit you gain from a coherent Pathway. It's easier too!
A Next Step Forward:
our Individually-Tailored Low-Cost Return Reminder Assessment.
Learn how previous and existing clients are likely to experience your suggestion
of returning to your firm with fresh matters (ie steps 10, 11 and 12 listed above)...
and your opportunities to plant the seeds more effectively.