You’re in a fortunate position if you’re your own boss, and you work from home. You get to establish what you want your business to stand for, and all on your own terms! One of your most pressing concerns will be making sure that your clients feel valued and respected. There’s nothing a customer wants to feel more than feeling that the person they’re working with has a vested interest in them as people as well as money figure. Below, we take a look at some simple ways you can bring the personal touch to your business.
Get on First Name Basis
Yes, when you first begin working with a client then you’ll want to keep things formal. But after a while, you’ll be able to drop the formality and call them by their name; though be sure to make sure you have that type of relationship before trying it out! You should also be using your own first name when you’re signing off emails and the like. It’ll breed a level of intimacy that can bigger companies just aren’t able to achieve.
Remember the Work
It doesn’t matter how many customers you might have: when you’re talking with any of them, they should be made to feel like they are your only client. Be well prepared, and recall everything you’ve done for them in the past. They’re putting a lot of trust in you to help them improve professional or personally; they’ll appreciate if you’re able to recall even the small details that you’ve done for them.
The Thoughtful Moments
Your customers aren’t just a paycheck. They also have their own lives, their own, thoughts, worries, feelings, and everything else that comes along with being a human. As such, you should reach out to this side of them: everybody loves it when people show an interest in their life, and especially so if it’s unexpected. It’s not just for their benefit, either. Make sure you stock up on birthday cards for business associates, and you’ll be able to establish a relationship with your client that will make it difficult for them to walk away. Be sure to handwrite the card, and add a personal note, too.
Reach Out to Them
You know one thing that can annoy a customer? When they only ever hear from the people they work with when that person wants something from them on. It makes it seem like they’re only a source of cash, and that they don’t really have any lasting interest in their business. Not so with you! Reach out to your clients regularly. If you see something that you think would be interesting to them, forward it over in an email. It’ll show them that they’re on your mind even when you’re not on the clock, and that it isn’t all about how much money they bring in.
The big companies could learn a thing or two from small businesses. If you’re sending out items to your customers in the past, then you have an opportunity to put in a personal touch every time. It’s nothing big, just a short handwritten note that tells them thanks for choosing. It’s a task that’ll take you all of thirty seconds to complete, but it’ll be a pleasant surprise – albeit a small one – when they open up the package. It’s much better than a standard issue receipt!
Nothing brings people together more than comedy. While it’s important that you remain professional, and certainly don’t joke about the work you’re doing, it’s fine to lighten the atmosphere before and after your business conversations. Businesses can be perceived as being cold and overly serious, but no rule says it needs to be this way. And indeed, if you’re a naturally funny person then you should let that humor shine through.
You may have noticed something as you go through life. It’s that people rarely tell others the admiration for them. If a person sees someone else achieve their dreams, they take it for granted that that person knows the good things they’re doing. In reality, it’s usually not the case. If you’re working with a client that you admire, let them know. It might just give them the boost they need to carry on chasing their dreams. Of course, you shouldn’t go overboard; it’ll look insincere. On a small level, you can tell them if they’ve done something you like.
Face to Face Meetings
We live in a digital age, and the vast majority of the things we need to do when we communicate with clients can be done online or via the telephone. But just because we can do it this way, that doesn’t mean that it’s usually the best option for us. If you’re only ever speaking with your clients via email, consider setting up a face to face meeting. It’ll give you a chance to get to know each other much better. Also, people are much more likely to feel “attached” to their business partners if they’re not just a name on a screen.
Remember that while work is important, it’s not everything in life. There’s no reason to dive straight into talking business as soon as you meet up or get each other on the phone. Instead, take a few minutes to chat informally, about their life, family, travel plans, and so on. It doesn’t have to be anything too serious: it’ll just show that you’re not only there for the money.
Give Yourself Away
Finally, remember that to have a close personal relationship with a person, you have to give a little of yourself away, too. You can talk about your family, how your work is going, and anything else in your personal life you feel comfortable with sharing (though leave any heavy chat for when you’re with your friends).
As we’ve shown, there are many ways a small business owner can get to know their customers more intimately. It’s one of your strengths, so make sure you’re using it!