How Long Should You Keep in Touch with a Former Client?

Posted by David Chism | Sat, Jan 22, 2011

Every con­trac­tor knows what it is like to lose a cus­tomer. It’s like a romance gone bad: Look, I like you and every­thing, but I just don’t see you as my paint­ing com­pa­ny any­more. I think you and I are going dif­fer­ent direc­tions… but we can still be friends, right?” And then you see your com­peti­tor’s van in their dri­ve­way. When I worked full-time in cus­tomer ser­vice and sales, it dev­as­tat­ed me every time a cus­tomer decid­ed not to use my paint com­pa­ny. I took it hard when I lost a cus­tomer, because I worked to build a long-term rela­tion­ship with each and every one. Is that you too? Some­times clients change con­trac­tors based on price alone, but I think the num­ber one rea­son why most cus­tomers would ever con­sid­er using anoth­er con­trac­tor is because they don’t have a strong rela­tion­ship with you or your com­pa­ny. (I’ve been guilty of this too! but read on) So how do you move for­ward with lost cus­tomers? Can you regain them? Should you cut them from your data­base and say, Ah, they don’t know what they’re miss­ing. They’ll come crawl­ing back when they have a lousy expe­ri­ence with that oth­er guy!” Or should you stay in touch? Easy answer! Stay in touch with a for­mer client unless he or she asks you not to. As long as your greet­ings and inquiries are gen­uine, the chances are they will appre­ci­ate you rather than be annoyed. Instead of get­ting frus­trat­ed, cre­ate a fol­low-up plan. Drop a note in the mail now and then just to say hi and see how things are going. See if you can regain what you lost. You might be sur­prised at how many come back to you the next time their home needs fix­ing or fresh­en­ing up. Final­ly, to help keep a cus­tomer from leav­ing in the first place, do the same thing: have a good and con­sis­tent fol­low-up plan. Your cus­tomers are the life-blood of your orga­ni­za­tion. Think of your paint­ing or con­struc­tion busi­ness more of like an account­ing, a real­tor or a finan­cial firm. Those indus­tries know their cus­tomers well. Always keep a good pulse on how your cus­tomers view your orga­ni­za­tion. If you build a real rela­tion­ship with them, they will be the ones feel­ing guilty if they leave you because your price. Tell me, how you keep in touch with your cus­tomers now? What does your fol­low-up plan look like? I’d love to read some of your unique ways to stay in touch and keep a cus­tomer for life.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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