Depending on your niche in the private investigations field, getting return clients may be a challenging task. Many private investigators approach clients as a “one-time” opportunity and do not expect to see them again. Taking the “one-time” opportunity approach is a mistake.
Starting now I challenge you to change your mind-set to, repeat this phrase three times out-loud;
“Once a client, ALWAYS a client!”
Following are a few tips on taking your former client relationships to the next level.
1. Treat small and large clients with the same care – It’s exciting to land a large contract. Chances are you will devote a majority of your time and attention to that large client. The small client is just as important, if not more important. Expend the same effort on your customer service effort on the small client as you do the large client.
a. Give them your full attention – turn off your cell phone, focus on them while they speak and be empathetic.
b. Let them know they are important to you and your business.
2. Know your clients at a personal level - You will learn some personal information about your client that will strengthen your relationship. You may learn about their interests, hobbies, and career aspirations. Capture this information in a contact program and periodically review and follow-up. Think how you feel when someone remembers your birthday or inquires about your interests.
3. Stay in touch – Every few months make a call to a former client to check on their progress, get updates on their career and how they are doing in pursuit of their interests. Overtime they know your phone number, your voice and won’t hesitate to give you a call if they need you. Taking a personal interest will keep you in their minds encouraging them to help spread the word about your services.
4. Don’t be afraid to share some of your expertise – Private investigators struggle with how much information to share with clients. Answer questions, share ideas and don’t be afraid to offer them less costly options. Over coffee or a lunch meeting give them useful hints or tips. This increases your chances of getting referrals and keeps them coming back to you when they need assistance. It’s possible that your clients, current and former, could be a resource to you in the future. Establishing a professional relationship open to sharing information could serve you well in the future.
5. Network outside of your industry – It is easy to focus on networking with your colleagues and that is important. Don’t overlook opportunities to network in your community as a volunteer, in the legal circles, business community, and philanthropic interests. This expands your “reach” to find new opportunities as well as keeping you well rounded in your business approach and outlook. Your clients come from many backgrounds so it stands to reason that you can find your clients in a variety of settings.
You spend most of your days focused on the business at hand, meeting deadlines, rushing to an interview or gearing up for a long night of surveillance. Invest a few minutes each week in your former client relationships. The benefits to you? Not only increases your opportunities for repeat or new clients, it will provide you with personal rewards as well.
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