It’s a fact that the cost of selling to a new client can be 3 times as much as selling to an existing one. It makes business sense to keep in touch with our clients in a way that is at the same time genuine and non intrusive so that, over time we nurture, grow and improve our relationship and rapport with them rather than hindering such a relationship.
Thanks to the very fast evolution of technology it is now possible to manage data with tools that just a couple of decades ago were accessible just to large companies; also the market place is becoming more and more competitive with an increasing number of suppliers sharing and fighting for a market share that is not growing as fast as we would like. Those professionals who are prepared to proactively keep in touch with they clients in a ways that suits them are more likely to grow and keep growing, picking up business from the ones that are just reacting to clients’ request.
Different markets require different approaches in terms of the modality and frequency of contact; novice complementary health practitioners very often ask us the best way of keeping in touch with clients. Many of then are so afraid of bothering their clients that they avoid keeping in touch with them at all. The data we collected over time shows that a gentle and consistent communication with clients does work and keeps you in their working memory so they book more often and regularly.
What I am about to describe is working well for those therapies that can apply to the remedial treatments as well as wellbeing and pampering / leisure. These include various kinds of massage, reflexology and acupuncture; for those of you working in psychological or pain reduction therapies it might be less applicable and relevant.
Step zero: have a client database (or list)
You should really have a database or list of all of your clients; spread sheet software packages make the management of these lists very easy. Apart from the obvious information like personal and contact details this list should include and being kept up to date with extra information such as the date of first treatment, the date of last treatment and the date of last contact. This will help you to take decisions based on information, as opposite to potentially damaging guesswork, about when it’s best contacting a particular client.
Step one: ask for permission before contacting them
Whether you are asking your clients to fill up a questionnaire before their first session or you ask them questions on your first consultation you can always slip in the simple question: “as a general practice I keep in touch with clients like you to assess their progresses after the treatment; would you prefer to be contacted via Email, phone or SMS?” While you are treating your clients you also have the opportunity of speaking to them about the next time you will be in touch with them. This kind of communication should be considered obvious as it is based on your general and genuine interest in your client’s wellbeing. If you are publishing a newsletter or any kind of periodic communication you should ask them whether they would like to receive your tips and offers.
Step three: get in touch
Clients that you have seen recently, particularly those who you saw for the first time, should be contacted within a few days after treatment just to assess how it is going. For all the others you should ideally allocate one day per month when you have a few hours free from any other commitments and you can go through your list, establish who you should be getting in touch with and just do it. Phone calls will take some time and might become very time consuming when you have tens or hundreds of clients that would like to be contacted that way. On the other hand Email can be automated via a number of list management systems and that will allow you to send a personalised Emails to many clients at once.
Extra General Advice
- Keep in touch for a good reason; the client health and wellbeing is the most important motivator about getting in touch
- Always remind the client that they authorised you in the first place to actually get in touch
- Give them the opportunity to opt out from your Emails or texts in a way that is obvious, easy and no further questions asked
- For any more advise or help on this topic please get in touch directly