There are two different types of client experiences: reactive and proactive.
Reactive means you’re responding to client’s interactions with you and your business, fulfilling their expectations, wants, and needs. For the most part, this is an outdated approach to doing business and requires you to spend a lot of your time putting out fires.
Marketing consultants that spend time creating a reactive client experience are typically those that believe investment into client experience is a cost that they don’t necessarily need.
It’s time to think again.
Here are a few metrics to help you understand why being reactive is bad for business:
- More than 75% of clients have abandoned a deal or not made the intended purchase because they’ve received poor service or follow up.
- Loyal clients  are 10 times more valuable to a consultant than a brand new client.
- Many clients require 12 positive experiences with you to change their mind about a single negative experience they’ve had.
- More than 90% of unhappy clients will never do business with you again.
If you’re simply reacting to events that happen in your client’s buying lifecycle, instead of moving them through a carefully planned out sales funnel, you aren’t giving them the experience you know they deserve.
A proactive client experience builds an ongoing relationship, usually starting well before a client is even a client. You anticipate problems before they become a problem and nurture the connection you have in many different ways. This hopefully leads to you being their consultant of choice for future projects and you may even get some positive referrals too.
Here are 7 different ways consultants get it right and proactively engage with their clients, both current and future:
Proactive Associate Engagement
Genesys ran a survey to determine how much a poor client service experience costs a business and found that 40% of clients stated if they were able to improve one aspect it would be the human element.
You are the face of your business and should be able to identify a problem before it becomes a major setback. By ensuring that you engage with clients that are looking for help, you’re creating opportunities to prevent those problems before they come up.
Clients that get the attention they need long before they get frustrated are going to become long-term clients. Even the smallest changes can make a big difference. For instance, addressing your clients by name can help you create an intimate bond. It’s unfortunate, but most consultants will only engage their customers by name around 21% of the time.
You can never really be sure what type of client experience you’re providing unless you take a step back and ask. Most consultants believe they are delivering superior client experiences, while less than 10% of clients believe they have gotten outstanding service.
Talking to your clients about the experience they’re having with you can be a great way for you to engage them in several different ways.
You want to ensure that the surveys you ask your clients to take are short and to the point. Focus on making them client-centric and make sure they understand that they have a chance to gain by completing your survey.
Nothing says proactive engagement quite like looking at your client’s journey and figuring out how you play a role in it. By mapping out your client’s journey, you can share fresh ideas, add a new perspective and predict any bumps in the road before clients realize they’re an issue.
Calling Your Clients
Whether it’s a new client or a long-term client, one way to proactively engage with them is to simply call them  and ask if there’s any area you can improve. The best time to do this is shortly after they’ve had an interaction with you.
By contacting them and asking them a few questions, you’ll get feedback from them about areas that can be improved on or that you excelled in while the interaction is still fresh in their mind.
Engaging on Social Media
Engaging and interacting with your clients online can help you extend your client experience.
You can use Google Alerts to figure out when clients are talking about you or your business and monitor the conversations that they’re having. Whenever you react to one of these conversations, you are proactively engaging with future clients that will search for your name.
Clients love to know that they’re being heard. By interacting with them while they are voicing their opinions online, you are showing them that you are proud of your clients.
You can also install live chat software on your website where clients can actively voice their opinions. Opening this dialog with them will help show them that you’re always available and that you do listen to their feedback — especially if you implement what they’re saying.
You will be able to glean new insights based on how they interact with social media posts you create or advertisements that they see from you.
The more you’re able to customize your products and services specifically to your client, the better the experience they will have with your business.
When clients give you access to the type of offers they want to see, you need to step up and start offering those solutions. If one client has the need, chances are high that there are other clients that have the same need — even if it’s in a different way.
Educating Your Clients
The best way to proactively engage with your clients is to educate them long before they actually become a client. This is commonly known as content marketing and refers to using content on your website and other websites to help bring new clients to you.
If you’re engaging with your prospects long before they actually become a client, you’re setting the stage for the type of experience they will have once they begin working with you.
The leads that come into your business through content marketing will already be warmed up to the thought of working with you, so it’s far easier for you to implement the other strategies listed here.
About the author:
Jock Purtle is the founder of Digital Exits , a business brokerage. He specializes in appraising and buying/selling online businesses and enjoys helping others do business and achieve their business goals.