In the service industry, like every small business, finding out how to get more clients and keep them is a top priority. But how to do it with a small or non-existent staff is the question. The truth of the matter is that in this situation size doesn't count half as much as smarts. But then every great service business knows getting more clients comes from giving great service. The key to this is to commit from the beginning to providing outstanding service and using both your ties to the community and your knowledge of technology to serve your customer base better. You do those things, and you have a head start. Want to know the details? Here are a handful of tips to help you get more clients for your IT service business or any service business, no matter what the size of your company.
Tip#1 – Talk it Up
You love what you are doing, let people know. Make sure you tell at least three people every day about your business and what you do. Get out from that computer and grab a coffee at the local coffee shop. Find out where prospective customers hang out and go there; network where they network. Hand out cards, talk about the services you offer, let the folks you meet know you are the kind of pro-active service provider they would love to have. Don't wait for customers to come to you, get out there and toot your own horn.
Tip #2 – Speak Up on Social Networks
If you are savvy about the net, you know that social networks are the best place online to talk up what you do. But do you just post updates or are you truly active? Find social network sites that speak to your passions in your business and then join the conversation. Lurkers don't get points for listening; you have to let others know about what you have to offer. Be a valuable part of your social network by offering good advice, helping others and answering questions. Above all, be consistent because sporadic comments don't help your reputation.
Tip #3 – Follow up on these Conversations
It doesn't help your cause if you meet people, give then advice, get a nibble of interest and then do nothing to follow up on it. One of the worst sins that many entrepreneurs do is network and then never follow-up. It's a waste of your time and your potential client's time. Don't say you are too busy, make time to follow-up on every card, response and email you get, and do it in a timely manner. This shows you are just as serious about what you do as they are about what they need. Never "leave money on the table" from opportunities lost.
Tip #4 – Use Your Website
Your website is not just a giant business card; it is an interactive representation of you and your business. When potential customers come by your site, what do you have to offer them? There should be a no-strings-attached download to build trust and an opt-in offer such as a newsletter to convert them to a customer. They are there to solve a problem, do you have a solution? Show them by the content of your site that you are familiar with their problems and are the one to solve it. You worked hard at that event or on that social network to get them to your site, make it worth their while.
Tip #5 – Make Customer Service Responsive
All of this doesn't help if you don't have someone at the other end of the phone who can help turn that potential client into a paying one. This is where having a great customer service desk and the right software to manage it counts. The right software means that everyone on your service desk has all the tools they need to give your customers and potential customers what they need, when they need it. Make sure that your customer service people care about your product because if they don't neither will the callers. Find those people who are passionate about what you do and they will ensure that your customers will sing their praises. If you have an auto response system, make reaching a human being the first option to accommodate those customers who need to talk first. It all adds up to making the best use of your resources, human and otherwise, to service the customer's needs.
Great Tech and People Get More Clients
In the end, as you can see, it isn't just the great technology you use and offer or the people. Just as you would expect, it is the combination of passion, smarts and great technology that will help your company to get more clients that want your services. In the service business, people are our first priority. Reaching out and helping those in our community, wherever that community is, can be a great first step to not only getting more clients but also to keeping them.