7 Ways to Secure Repeat Clients
Design businesses don’t just love repeat clients- they depend on them.
Repeat clients are the mainstay of any service providing business. They are easier to sell to, spend more, and refer more people.
Building up a loyal clientele should be a primary goal of your design studio. And, the steps to doing this are rather straightforward.
PROVIDE EXCELLENT CUSTOMER CARE
When you are working on a project, it is easy to forget how you aren’t just working to meet the needs of your client but you are actually working to build your brand. Every word you speak, every action you take, communicates how you want the world to see you. Customer service excellence isn’t the end point, rather it is the base for building up a loyal clientele.
SEND THANK YOU CARDS
It may seem like a simple gesture, but express gratitude with a handwritten note. In a world where “thank you” is tossed around cheaply, going through the extra steps of putting it down in writing and placing it in the mail goes a long way. People prefer working with you when they feel like you appreciate their business.
REGULARLY TOUCH BASE
Don’t let the end of the project become the end of the relationship. Always remember their special occassions by sending regular birthday, anniversary, and holiday cards. And, don’t hesitate to reach out to them by phone. Even a brief 5-minute call can go a long way to keeping a relationship alive. Inevitably, they’ll share with you if they, or their friends, have any design needs. Calls lead to a lot of repeat business and referrals. Put these in your schedule and stick to them.
OFFER COMPLIMENTARY ANNUAL VISITS
If you can start seeing interior design as not just a one-time project but rather as a long-term engagement, you’ll feel the delight and appreciation of your clients. And, you’ll become a better designer by carefully listening to the experience of people living in your spaces.
By making an annual house call, you ensure that your masterful arrangement of books on the shelves stays orderly and that they haven’t added decorative pillows with the wrong colors to your living room design— this is your showroom after all! You’ll also hear what the client love and what isn’t working out so well. This will give you a chance to explain your design decisions (if we don’t know why you chose the fridge to open in that direction, we might think it was a poor choice). And, it will allow you to hear if your client has any current needs- including for a second-home. Annual visits cement the long-term nature of the relationship.
When applicable, it’s a gracious gesture to invite your clients to your home for a dinner party. Whether you invite them all together for an annual party, or invite just one couple or family at a time, breaking bread is a time-honored tradition that brings people together and deepens bonds. As the host, you’ll elicit gratitude on your clients’ part, and only good can come from that. Restaurants are poor substitutes for this— entertain in your home when possible.
SEND EMAIL NEWSLETTERS
Let your clientele see your latest work to inspire them and to demonstrate that your design skill-set extends well beyond what you did for them. By them seeing your on-trend designs, they’ll give you heightened consideration when they have their next design need. Newsletters are great opportunities to share the latest trends. And, they often get forwarded to friends in need.
Personally connect with your clients on social media and send them invites to follow your channels. Don’t just choose your go-to social network as that might not reflect where they spend their time. It makes sense to cover Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You’ll quickly see where they engage the most. When they post exciting news, make sure you are one of the “Congrats!” comments.
Once you have clients and fans liking and following you, it makes sense to keep them in the loop continuously through social advertising (“boosting”). You can even exclude followers outside of your geographic area so that you are only paying to reach your local fanbase. Like the newsletters, this keeps your brand in front of their eyes, and makes it easy for them to share you with others. Their friends will see if they comment on your posts, strengthening your presence in your community.