You could probably count on one hand the number of businesses you interact with on a regular basis that actually makes your life easier through communication. The simple act of communicating with your customers, even when they are not using your service, keeps the conversation going and your business top of mind for when you are needed by your customer or someone they know. Simple techniques such as friendly reminders by mail, text messages, email newsletters, and quick phone calls to “check-in” build rapport and loyalty, which will dramatically increase your business.
Communication has the ability to make or break a business. Businesses that have figured this out understand that they are generating a different type of “need” for their services. The need is driven by the customer’s reliance upon the company feeding helpful information that benefits the customer and makes each transaction with the organization go more smoothly. These benefits also extend to the organization because they receive timely information to improve services and an immediate response from customers that lead to greater revenues.
Big businesses have already recognized this and have gotten onboard. The majority of small businesses have not. Here are two personal examples:
I am one of the lucky few that has massage therapy covered by my insurance, so I try and make it in once a month. My massage therapist is self-employed and is always struggling to make ends meet. I have been going to this business for at least two years, yet I keep forgetting to schedule my next appointment and haven’t been in for five months.
Simple communication tools could fix this. The massage therapist could easily get me to schedule by calling, sending me a text message or even a postcard in the mail. A quick reminder that I am “due” for my next appointment or a quick phone call to “check-in” and make sure everything is alright on my end or some form of notification that keeps her business top of mind, is all it would take. Is it likely that my massage therapist could end her financial struggles if she just took the time to communicate? Yes! Do I now believe that my business is insignificant to her because she hasn’t reached out? Yes!
She received zero revenue from services given to me over the last five months. Just think what would happen if she proactively communicated with her clients and had all of them scheduling on a regular basis. Business would be great and she would be far from struggling.
2. My dentist has this down pat. I love it. When you are due for an appointment, they send you a postcard with an appointment already scheduled 6 weeks out. Perfect timing to plan for the appointment or rearrange schedules. Appointment reminders are sent via text message. All I need to do is reply to confirm or reschedule. After an appointment, my dentist calls to see how I am feeling, how the service was, if I was comfortable, and if there is anything I would like next time. They keep these notes and make good on their promise. I always get a nice warm blanket and my favorite radio programming when I visit. The experience is great and the communication makes my life so much easier.
I rely on my dentist to do these things to make my life easier. Because they consistently follow-up and follow-through, I am highly loyal to them and I am constantly referring business to them.
We are all too busy. Take the time to think of how businesses you interact with fail to make your life easier or go above and beyond to do so. Then, utilize these techniques to improve your own business. Increase your customer retention, customer loyalty, referral business, and frequency of services provided. All it takes is a follow-up.
April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.
Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.
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