How Can We Encourage More Return Visits For Our Services?
- "Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them." (W. Edwards Deming)
(They may be called repeat clients, returning clients or renewed clients.)
It suits both firm and client: saving money and time shopping around and building a good working relationship. And because the trust is already established, the scope of work may expand.
Returning clients who already know you cost 6 to 7 times less than new clients to attract, the Solicitors Regulation Authority says. And a "...major new Law Society research that shows repeat clients are by far solicitors’ biggest source of work".
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.
Encouraging past clients to return is good business
An existing or previous client going to a competitor for services you could have provided is a tragedy.
Only rarely will it mean the client was actually unhappy with you.
Usually it is because the client did not connect those newly relevant services with you. This happens when the bond between you and your clients wears thin and they forget that you could help, and start their search process afresh.
Your aim has to be to prevent that staleness.
Optimise your words to make client's choice easier.
"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.
Repeat business from past clients is the reward of a well-managed Client-Attracting Pathway. It takes systematic attention to every step from first-enquiry to loyal-client.
Also useful: the referrals and recommendations happy clients are likely to send your way!
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.
10. Welcoming Process
– to improve client satisfaction, cooperation and later retention
11. Easy Payment Options
– to ensure there are no problems at this end of the relationship
12. Client Satisfaction
– to prevent social media rants, and to gain return/renewal and referrals
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.
But it is worth designing each stepping stone to quietly promote the preceding and following steps. As well as your website helping to plant the idea of repeat engagements, other small mentions are useful...
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
- In your first meeting: "might there be following issues?"
- And most obviously in Final Review meetings
2. After you have finished working with the Client
- Thank You card on receipt of final payment
- Anniversary cards for happy events
- 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 useful or interesting/amusing, that is likely to keep the relationship bond alive.
All the steps on your Client-Attracting Pathway must work hard
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 legal matters (ie steps 10, 11 and 12 listed above)...
and your opportunities to plant the seeds more effectively.