Taking the Temperature of Client Engagement

It’s almost protocol.  Nearly anywhere you go, before you enter the space, a thermometer is pointed at your head to ensure you’re fever free.  They’re taking your temperature. Being proactive.  Not a bad thing to be in any client engagement space. Maybe we could finally learn something from this pandemic. Are you taking the temperature for your client base?  Yep, totally spinning this to customer service. What would it take for your team to provide consistent unwavering and exceptional customer service?

Charles Schwab said, “Good business is good relationships.” These wise words resonate to this day. It’s the relationship and the experience. Yet, we get so focused on the next sale, the next conquest, the next cha-ching. What do we do to keep the relationship current with our current and existing client base?

We buy products and services and things from the people we trust. Our clients share this same paradigm. And this viewpoint is very elementary in nature.  We KNOW this. Where most of us fail is maintaining the relationship after the sale. Consider the gym membership. Your new car purchase. The financial advisor who earned your business. Have you heard from them in a while?

The start of any business relationship is like dating. The honeymoon stage. You’re excited. You get butterflies in your belly. You’re on your best behavior. You’re gung-ho on the new relationship. But like a fading fresh paint smell, when it comes to follow up and staying engaged, we get in our own heads and start thinking, “this element of networking is weird and  awkward.”

Then we attribute the non-engagement to the market, buying trends. We think:

“Most gym memberships drop off in March.

I send a quarterly portfolio.

It’s a lease. They’ll be back when the term is up.”

What would it look like to ensure the relationship is sustained? How are you taking the temperature? What do you do to constantly obtain feedback and insights from your client base?

My friend and real estate agent Brenda D’Amore with Keller Williams Inspire is the YODA of taking the temperature for client retention. I’ve utilized her real estate expertise and have referred her business. I trust and know her team will not only sell or rent a property, but that she has the resources to facilitate the process.  She comes with a menagerie of house inspectors, general contractors, and attorneys.  Her role is to be a resource.  Buy your new home with confidence. That’s just the buying journey.

Brenda has mastered the cadence for follow up for client retention. She champions the element of remaining in contact with clients. Think about it. How often do we buy a house? I not only receive the magnet with the sports schedules for the side of my fridge, but recipe cards, and phone calls and emails. Brenda is constantly touching base to see how we’re doing. During the holidays, she hosts an open house at her Geneva office and provides pies for your family to serve for a holiday dinner. When I’m adding whipped cream to my pumpkin pie and my family asks where it came from, Brenda becomes the topic of conversation.  You see? It’s the relationship.

So, I ask again, how are you taking the temperature of your clients? What are you doing to sustain engagement?

Below are a few tips to sustain that honeymoon phase with your client base.

    1. Genuinely and sincerely value the client and how they contribute to your business.
    2. Ask your client how often they want to hear from you. Then…. Create a cadence for constant touch points.
    3. Plan a calendar for one week, one month, 3 months, 6 months, a year, two, milestones, birthdays, etc.
      • NOTE – every month has a national day to celebrate coffee, dogs, chocolate, etc. Pick a topic and celebrate with a promotional item for your clients.
      • Extra points if it’s specific to your client preferences or need
    4. Take notes to remember personal things about your clients;
          • kid sports, dog names, hobbies, etc.

Have fun and never stop taking the temperature. You never know where the next referral will come from. In business, that’s the highest compliment to receive.

 

Emotionally Charged

Valentine’s has passed. The shortest month of the year is coming to an end.  Every day we are closer to Winter’s end and the days grow longer with additional sunlight. Green decorations, anticipation for Spring and thoughts of March Madness are on the horizon.  We’ve stopped greeting each other with “Happy New Year.”  Yet……..have you made any strides on your resolution or Q1 goals?  Are you implementing?  Or, has the adrenaline rush for a magnificent 2020 tapered as daily routines absorb your attention? Have priorities shifted? What are you doing to keep momentum?

Do you find planning and talking about goals intriguing?  Get excited talking about the future and what it could be. You can feel the heartbeat accelerate. Envision the dream.  Yet implementation falls short? Is it only the resolution?  Or is there a pattern to the lack of follow through?

I recently spoke at the Corn Belt Seed Conference in Indianapolis, and the focus for the event was client engagement, customer service and the member care they provide to their suppliers, vendors, and teams. Agriculture – the industry that feeds and sustains the world’s population is focused on customer service. Goals to impact the client experience. Goals to leave a thumb print, cultivate teams, and differentiate a field typically not associated with hospitality. Client engagement is truly transcending all industries.

Drinking by fire hydrant, there was a multitude of information presented to these attendees.  Suggestions from myself and other industry professionals on what they could implement with their teams; their own “conference resolutions.”  I challenged the attendees to take out their phones and plan a cascade. To schedule in that moment, a team meeting and at that meeting to plan how to implement. Because, when we attend an event, we can become infused with excitement.  We drink the “kool-aid” and we’re sparked, inspired, on fire. We find genius in simplistic thoughts.  “A-ha!  That’s how it’s done!” But, when we return to our regular environment, the spark fades to a glowing ember. Normal routines and business operations take priority.

I call this The Fresh Paint Smell. You paint a room.  It’s clean and organized. You can smell the fresh paint. You love it. You feel the happiness when you walk in. Two days later, it’s still a fresh room, but the new paint smell has faded and the excitement of it has passed. Over a week or so, it’s the room we love, but the newness is fading. A month or so passes, and it’s just another room in the house.

How do we sustain momentum?  How do we increase our resolve?  What makes one person or business succeed, where another fails to take the first step? We need to look to the emotional investment.  In truth our emotions hold the key to it all.  So, this blog will provide insights into how our momentum is impacted. In March, we’ll reveal insights into HOW to sustain it.

 

EMOTIONS

Keep in mind that client engagement is all about emotions. We talk about our experiences because there’s an emotion attached to it. We live reactively.  We observe and an emotion follows.  We get excited. Angry. Happy. Motivated.  But to act on it, here is why it’s a challenge.

As human beings, we are unable to sustain a positive or negative emotion for an extended period of time. The elation we initially feel when we receive the praise, the achievement, the inspiration – cannot be replicated.  Same for the frustration, the anger, the adrenaline rush. We can reflect and feel a similar emotion, but not the initial emotional experience.

In a study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, it timed emotions and how long they last.

“Sadness is the longest lasting of all emotions taking on average 120 hours to pass.

Hatred is the second most enduring emotion followed by joy which lasts an average of 35 hours.

Guilt lingers longer than the hot burn of shame; and fear tends to pass fairly quickly compared to anxiety which generally lasts much longer.

The stay-around power of sadness is likely due to its tendency to be associated with events that have a major long-term impact on people’s lives, such as bereavement.”

We observe. Have a thought to determine our feeling and then an emotional response.  Then we act or refrain from acting. Ever notice when implementing a goal, it’s the emotional passivity that triggers the action or inaction?  Thoughts like:

“One brownie today is ok,” or

“Skip the workout.” 

“I’ll reschedule that meeting with the team tomorrow.”

“It’s not like we need to shift our customer service overnight.”

“Our competition isn’t that far ahead.”

These passive thoughts are laced with an underlying element of fear and complacency.  Yet dive deeper and it’s a fear of change.  Fear is the emotion, disguised as complacency.  And frankly, I’ve never seen any business thrive with a mindset of “We’ve always done it this way.” The craving we give in to, the complacent thought, becomes the goal we do not achieve.

Simplistically – it’s building mindfulness. Changing our attitude and behaviors to take consistent action towards our goals.  Intrigued? Eager to learn more? Stay tuned for next month when I interview Superbowl champion & FitSpeed owner, Darcy Johnson on dedication, perseverance and achieving a goal mindset.