Whether you are a coach, consultant, healer, entrepreneur, VA, brick and mortar type of business (and so on…) we all have one thing in common.
We need clients (or customers) to buy our products and services. Otherwise, we don’t have a business.
For some businesses, the process may be very simple – a customer purchases and continues on their way. But should it be?
Research suggests that it can cost 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an exisitng one. And for that reason, all businesses may wish to visit their client intake process.
Here are some things you should consider when developing your client intake strategy.
1. Get their information
Whether you are a brick and mortar business, or an on-line business, you will want to capture contact information for your new customer. When you have their information, you are able to contact them again.
This doesn’t have to be a complicated, over-the-top, highly technical process. A local store where I have purchased a KAMELEON ring (they have inter-changeable POPs that allow them to have a different look) a few years ago, has recorded my information of a 3×4 index card. When they have a KAMELEON sale, they call me a few days before the sale to let me know.
I don’t feel solicited to at all. I feel customer appreciated. I am happy to continue to do business with them because they cared enough about me to let me know about some of my favourite things in their store.
2. Send a welcome package
If you are a coach, consultant, healer or on-line entrepreneur, you may need to have agreements and contracts signed before continuing to do business. Create them and and standard welcome letter indicating the process.
You may also want to have them complete a questionnaire prior to getting started working with them.
And if you are a brick and mortar business, you too may wish to send a questionnaire or some type of survey to your customer getting their feedback. There are many stores that now have a special code on their receipt soliciting feedback in exchange for a discount. I don’t know about you, but I don’t generally come home and think about completing the survey.
However, if that store sent me a personal email thanking me for my recent purchase – and perhaps even personalizing what it was that I did purchase, and then inviting me to receive a discount in exchange for providing feedback, I might be more inclined to do it.
3. Surprise them with a Thank You!
Now that you have their contact information, you can thank them for being a customer. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate, over-the-top, thank you gift. It can be a simple thank you card – using a service like SendOutCards, or the good ol’ fashioned hand-written one. Or it could be a surprise gift inside their shipment (if they’ve ordered something from you that is a physical item requiring shipping.)
A few years ago, I ordered a purse from a seller on eBay. When I opened my package, inside was a necklace. I thought that it was a mistake, and upon reaching out to the seller, she indicated that she likes to surprise her customers for their loyalty. How very nice! I would suggest to her in the future that she include a little card indicating that it was a gift.
For high level purchases, like an year-long coaching program, you may wish to send your client a gift a couple of times throughout the year. You may wish to factor this into your pricing.
Remember, it costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, so the cost of these surprise gifts should pay for themselves!
When you plan out your client intake, you may also wish to identify the time line in which these transactions should take place.
- When does the welcome package get sent?
- When do you send thank you gifts?
- Who does them?
- Who tracks them?
- Where do you file the information once it’s completed?
- Where do you get your thank you gifts?
Once you’ve answered these questions, begin to implement and test the process. It is likely that you will tweak this a few times. You may have something slightly out of order. No problem, just adjust it for the next client that buys from you and continue to do adjust until it is fine-tuned just the way you want it.
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