Follow These Steps to Stay Connected With Clients

Jim Luff
Posted on May 8, 2009

Because livery service is not an everyday purchase or thought, staying connected with your clients keeps your company name on their minds. By using technology and greeting cards, you can show your clients how much you care.

There are many advantages of marketing to clients. Since you do business with them, they are already familiar with your level of service. You are not "selling" them on its value, but making them feel special and important to your company through regular communications. The technology used in the livery and charter industry can help to reach out and match messages to individual clients based on past usage. Think of this as marketing efforts that go deeper instead of wider.

Promoting Two-Way Communications
Encourage communications by sending Thank You cards along with an evaluation form to provide feedback of the recent experience with your company. Consider sending a personal letter or e-mail asking for their input on how to improve operations. You can tell them you have chosen select clients to advise you on better meeting the needs of those you serve.

Whether they are a regular client or a one-time client, the perspective of both is important to your future. Ask them if they might consider submitting their stories of a recent trip to be used in an upcoming company newsletter. Make them feel like part of your special advisory board. A simple phone call can accomplish this two-way dialogue as well.

Newsletters, E-Mail Blasts, Personalized Special Offers
With the popularity of the Internet, newsletters and e-mail blasts make it affordable to connect with your clients more frequently and for less money. The cost of a newsletter alone to design, print, and mail used to be cost prohibitive for most small companies. However, as long as you collect e-mail addresses from your clients at the time you begin doing business, you can connect monthly or quarterly with virtually zero expense except your time.

Make sure that your newsletters are informative and interesting by containing articles that people will want to read. People love to hear about our jobs. Just be sure not to name names or reveal information that is personal or sensitive. People enjoy reading about the behavior of our passengers. You might spotlight a particular chauffeur or reservationist.

Be sure to include photos, as people often wonder what we look like. We are always the voice on the other end that takes the order and makes the trip happen but clients seldom see our office personnel.

If you don't have the time or skills to do a newsletter, websites such as Merchantcircle.com or Constantcontact.com can provide templates for you or even design your newsletter for you and prompt you when it is time to do a new one. All you do is provide the e-mail addresses.

On some contact management websites, other merchants in your area who provide their own client e-mail addresses for their business are added to your list and vice-versa, allowing you to target even more people in your immediate area. Upcoming specials can be included in newsletters, but if a special comes up between newsletters, an e-mail blast is an effective way to reach out to your clients and let them know.  

Be sure to make your subject line creative such as, "Special Offer Just for You" to draw them in to the e-mail. If it appears to be junk e-mail, it might get sent to a spam folder, or worse yet, deleted without even being opened. If this happens, it is not the end of the world since you still connected to them when they saw your e-mail address. Staying on their minds is the ultimate goal.

Special offers can be tailored to individual clients through creative offers, such as declaring the month of June to be, "Mr. & Mrs. John Doe's Anniversary Month" in the subject line of a personal e-mail. This is sure to get their attention. Boiler plate offers can be designed for all types of occasions and events.

Clients who previously chartered regularly but have disappeared can be contacted with a personal note of concern. Let the client know that you miss them and their business and want them back. Invite them to contact you about any concern or incident that you may be unaware of. Provide a special "Welcome Back" offer just for them.

Tracking the Data
Keeping track of many e-mail addresses, birthdays, anniversaries, and special dates can be a daunting challenge. Fortunately, the technology we use today makes the process relatively easy. Client e-mail addresses are generally stored in your reservation software for the purpose of sending confirmations. This information can be exported to other programs or vendors to help manage the process.

Sendoutcards.com is an excellent source for handling greeting cards of all types. You supply the data and your logo and they take care of the rest, including writing personal notes that make it appear to be personal to each individual client.

Companies such as Constant Contact, Inc. can handle newsletters, e-mail blasts, and even do online surveys of your clients providing valuable feedback data. In addition, reporting features include how many e-messages were delivered and who actually opened them to read. Obviously the ones who read every message sent are potentially interested in what you have to say and offer.

Year-Round Connecting
There are numerous opportunities to connect with clients all year long. Through the combined use of newsletters, greeting cards, special offers, special occasions, and even the anniversary of your relationship, you should manage to connect with your clients at least once a month year-round.

Because charters are not an impulsive purchase, your company must be constantly placed in the mind of your client. So when a need for your service arises, you have achieved top-of-mind awareness. Such awareness also can benefit you through the referral of new clients by your existing clients because you have designed a way to always be on their minds.

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Related Topics: business tools, customer service, How To, management, tips for success, web marketing

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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