In a past post, “Client Communications and Current Crises,” I explored when to reach out to your clients during scary market news. My advice was that “right away” was the best way, despite any misgivings you might have about what to say when the trouble may still be brewing.
Another important way to make your crisis communications more effective is to sustain a regular stream of good-news reach-outs in between. In so doing, the crisis-driven ones won’t seem out of context when they arrive. They’ll just be one more exchange in your ongoing conversation.
As much as I love to peddle my Content-Sharing Library educational materials (Did you catch that subtle promo link?) personal touches are even more important than generic e-blasts.
Thank your clients whenever you’re grateful, even if it’s not that big a deal.
Imagine sending an out-of-the-blue e-mail a year or so into your relationship with a relatively new client. Something like, “Hi, John & Mary: Today, I have no news to report, but I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your business. Have a great day!” Think of the smiles you’ll probably put on their faces. Mildly puzzled smiles, perhaps, but smiles nonetheless.
Congratulate them on their good-news events.
Birthdays, yes, no duh. But better yet send them a thumbs-up when their child just made the soccer team or they just adopted a new puppy. For those of you who have been wondering why you might want to be Facebook friends with your clients … there it is. Free diamonds in the communication rough.
Invite them to celebrate your own milestones.
Without going overboard on this one, you can share your own good news in a client e-newsletter. Especially if you have staff members, genuinely cheering on their personal and professional accomplishments is a big win for everyone involved.
So, instead of only reaching out to clients when the news is alarming or you’ve got business to transact, complete the circle with good-time news and views. Once you’re both in the habit of being in touch with one another when you just want to shoot the bull, those market crisis reach-outs shouldn’t be nearly as hard to bear.
PS: With any kinds of communications, the more personalized you can make them, the better. Also, there may be particular clients – you probably already know who they are – who simply will not react well to these sorts of warm-fuzzies. It will be important to respect their preferred parameters. As one commentator noted in response to my past post, customized communications can be readily addressed through the robust Client Relationship Management solutions available today.