How professionals can keep customers coming back

Competition is fierce and other professionals are going after your customers. Learn how to bring your customers back for more service again and again.

How professionals can keep customers coming back

You likely don’t enjoy selling your services to potential customers, preferring instead to spend that time serving people who already know and value your expertise.  Selling is exhausting and maybe not the best use of your expensive time.

If you want to reduce the amount of time and energy you spend recruiting new business, your practice can get better at keeping existing customers coming back. It’s not simply enough to provide quality service – although that attribute helps – because there may be other professionals in your market promising the same deliverables.

Stand out from your competition and bring your customers back for more with these marketing strategies.

Think like family

People buy for emotional reasons, so create that feeling that you are a part of your customers’ daily lives. Develop an emotional connection so strong that they can't imagine choosing any of your competitors. Look for ways to create emotional experiences with your customers, like:

  • Sending a personal card or note to mark milestone occasions, such as a significant birthday, child graduation or career accomplishment.
  • Ask customers to bring family members to your annual holiday party so you can meet them.
  • Buy tickets to sports events and invite different customers to each game.

Ask for referrals

If you’re not willing to cold call potential customers, your only other option to bring in new customers is through referrals from existing ones. Everyone does it. Try something simple yet direct. A lawyer might ask, “I’m accepting new clients and hope to get more like you – do you know a business owner who might benefit from my services?”

You’ll find most customers want to help you by introducing you to someone they know. But you must ask first.

Ditch the email and use the phone

Technology is so accessible these days that it has become so much easier to choose high-tech communication over high-touch communic­ation. You can distinguish your practice from your competitors by simply being more human and choosing in-person communications where possible. Your customer will appreciate a short call instead of a lengthy, impersonal email.

Do something extraordinary

Surprise your customers by always going the extra mile. Do something they didn’t expect but truly appreciate.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, either. For example, the week following an appointment, an orthodontist can call a parent to find out how their teenager is adjusting to life with braces.

Offer a memorable experience

Many professional practices today risk being viewed as commodities in the eyes of their customers. Customers end up feeling like they can get the same service from anyone for the same price – so why return to you?

It’s amazing how easy it can be to differentiate your service by creating a memorable experience each and every time a customer interacts with you. Here are some examples:

  • The waiting room stocks the latest, most expensive magazines.
  • Guests are offered gourmet coffee, deluxe bottled water or a choice of soft drinks.
  • The professional commits to returning telephone calls within the hour.
  • Parking is free.
  • Patients sitting in an operatory may watch premium movie content on an easy-to-see HD screen.

Perhaps the best memorable experience you can offer your customers is dialogue. Make them feel special because they are! Take a few minutes at the beginning of every meeting or session or visit to chat about their lives, their families, their health or their vacation plans. Ask customers what concerns them most and how you can help. The more interactive you are with your customers, the more they’ll be willing to return to you – and recommend you to family or friends.

Next steps

  • Introduce one or two retention strategies and obtain customer feedback so you can fine-tune your activities.
  • Read more marketing and sales tips for professionals.
  • Simplify your banking so you can focus on serving customers. For professionals, the Scotia Professional Plan (SPP) offers preferred rates on business and personal accounts and annual fees waived on select credit cards. To learn more, get in touch with a Scotiabank Small Business Advisor at 1(877)552-5522 or find an advisor online.