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Extra service helps retain clients in tough economy

By Nicole V. Candler, APR, Nic Creative Public Relations

Always under promise and over deliver.

While I wish I could attribute this perspective to a seasoned mentor, it’s simply fortune cookie advice I received after a recent client lunch. Nonetheless, the lesson of under promising and over delivering is a good business tip.

That lesson applies more today, during a challenging economy when independent consultants are on edge, trying to gain clients where they can and still nuture relationships with those among their current roster.

When I offered a question about how to retain clients to some PRSA Independent Practitioner Alliance members on our Linkedin group, many answers focused on the over delivering aspect.

Jennifer Heinly, Owner of J&J Consulting, responded by posting, “I am going above and beyond with customer service, and letting clients know how much I appreciate their business. Even with these extras, some have still gone away. However, I continue to keep in contact with them and forward media leads to them for their director of marketing to pursue. They keep telling me when their business turns around, I will be one of the first ones they call to start working with them again.”

Keeping in contact is key – even with those client leads that don’t develop into new business and with clients that put your services on indefinite pause. Over delivering on communication and connection with clients offers the potential for you to be in the right place when the client’s industry rebounds.

“Over serving clients is the name of the game. I try and make sure that I communicate with my clients as frequently as possible, offering counsel, sending relevant articles, or suggesting new strategies,” posted Jon Pushkin, owner of Pushkin Public Relations.

Sending ideas and articles to the client only takes a few minutes of time, but it shows you’ve still got that client’s best interest in mind – and that you’re available to follow up on those ideas. While over delivering on services and hours can be a costly expense for an independent consultant, quick reminders of your dedication and appreciation for the client will pay off…over time.

One Response to “Extra service helps retain clients in tough economy”

  1. Kyle Says:

    I thoroughly agree with this post. I believe that true customer service, in any business capacity, has gone by the wayside in recent years. In any business setting, the advice of always under promising and over delivering is a motto that can truly make the difference between making the sale, getting the client, or simply keeping good business practices with a current client.

    Appreciating customers and keeping in touch not only shows that you honestly do care, but that you are also willing to go above and beyond to ensure that their every need is taken care of.

    Jennifer Heinly’s advice was very insightful and added a key element to the blog. Her advice goes to show that by keeping in contact and going above and beyond with customer service, customers will return the favor when they feel the need, and you will ultimately be the first phone number that they call.

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