As most of you know, I love dogs. Hence the name of my business. But I must admit, there are days, when “picking up” after my dog gets a bit, well, let’s just say, less than glamorous. There are times when you head out for a walk with the best intentions and remember you forgot “the bag” . Or the times when you go to pick it up Fido’s do-do there’s a huge hole in the bag … okay you get the point.
So what do doggie bags (not the ones you get a restaurants) have to do with business?
Here’s what got me thinking.
Last week I was walking the dog and of course I was tidying up after him when a lady came running out of her house as if her hair was on fire. Instantly, I thought that something was wrong, put the dog in a sit and stepped down on his leash, finishing with the “Stay” command. She walked up to me, extended her hand and said “thanks”. I was perplexed. She continued with, “I see you and your dog walking in front of my house all the time and you always pick up after him. I just wanted you to know, I appreciate that you help to keep the neighborhood clean. Have a great day and oh by the way I’m Catherine.” We continued on for about 5 more minutes. As I walked away, I felt really good. Not only did I meet a neighbor I had never even seen, but she was making a big deal over something I thought was just a polite thing to do. I mean seriously, who wants to go out in the morning to get the paper without shoes and … squish!
I bring this up because I wonder as business professionals, how many times do we sincerely thank our customers?
Did you forget your doggie bag?
Not having a bag to scoop bites! Not showing your clients you appreciate them really bites! If you don’t express your gratitude to your clients, do you think they’ve noticed?
Tips for when you forget to say thanks:
- Throw a client appreciation party
- Offer to take them out to lunch, without any business talk
- Pass them some referrals that will help their business grow
- Get them tickets to one of their favorite events (i.e. sports, theater, concerts, etc.)
- Send them value-added thanks (forward white papers, case studies or articles that could help support or generate new ideas for their business)
Does your doggie bag have a hole?
Often we have great intentions on staying in touch with our customers. However we may find ourselves forgetting to touch base with the client as often as we used to in the beginning of the relationship. We may get ourselves into a real “mess” if our customer service approach has a hole in it.
How can we do better? I am looking into following up with clients after a large project to make sure the experience was a good one by conducting a survey through Survey Monkey. Each time I work on a piece with a client or if I have been working with a long-term client for at least 6 months, I want to send them a survery. It’s an easy way to show you care about their success. How do you get them to fill it out? I hear gift cards to coffee shops and a copy of a business book are all good ways to motivate. And who doesn’t like to get “stuff”. Here’s an article on how one small business owner handles “staying in touch”.
Do you pack extra bags?
It happens to each of us. We forget a birthday or we don’t remember to honor a business’ anniversary. Opps! So wouldn’t you save yourself a ton of embarrassment if you had some extra “doggie bags” ready to go in case of emergency?
If this sounds like you, Send Out Cards is a great way to safety yourself! My friend, Lori Carter is a representative for them and does an outstanding job presenting new and innovative ways to connect with your client base. Her company, Send Out Cards gives you the ability to mail a greeting card from your desktop and even attach a gift if you choose.
So the next time you “head out” on your journey, make sure you bring “the bag”. Clients appreciate a follow-up call. Often, they have a lot going on too and it’s nice to know someone is out there who cares.
To better client service!