Category: Loyalty · 4 min read
How to be There for Your Clients in Hard Times
on September 17, 2019
on September 17, 2019
Life is hard. That’s not exactly a revolutionary statement. But sometimes life doesn't go according to plan, for you or for your clients. Your clients' plans can fail, their relationships might fall apart, or a loved one or partner might pass away. All of these can lead to hardships—emotional, but also financial.
When your clients experience this first-hand, it can be difficult to know what to do. Should you send them something, or does that cross a line? Should you wait it out until they contact you? Do they need space, or would they appreciate a message?
The answer depends on your relationship with your client and the circumstances, but reaching out at the appropriate time to show that you care is always the right thing to do. Here are six things to consider before you reach out to them.
Give Them Time
First, give them space to process, grieve, or figure things out, especially if they lost a loved one. Odds are, they’re focused on the problem in front of them, so a message immediately after the hardship occurs may not be well-received. Instead, wait a few days or a few weeks. Let the dust settle a little bit, and then…
Let them know that you’re thinking of them. Some time has passed, your client is probably starting to process things, and would most likely appreciate you reaching out to them. This could be an email, a letter, a text, a phone call, or an in-person conversation. It all depends on your relationship with them. This shows that you care, you’re sorry about their situation, and they mean a lot to you.
How you reach out also matters. Whatever communication method you choose, lead with kindness and sincerity. Be compassionate and respectful to what they’re going through, and make sure you mean it. If you’ve been through a similar situation, offering some words of wisdom or encouragement is also appropriate and appreciated. Let them know you’re sorry, you’re thinking of them, and you’re there if you need them. Remember, this is not the time to be in sell mode.
Speaking of being there, that’s the next point. Being available is an important piece of the struggling-client puzzle. When they want to meet, try as best you can to make it work with your calendar. Odds are, they probably want to talk about how their finances or retirement looks in relation to what’s just happened to them. So, hear them out. Help however you can, when you can. Be there. If you do that, your clients can become even more loyal to you than they were before.
Send Them Something
A thoughtful note is a great way to reach out and give a paper hug to your clients, but it isn’t a bad idea to go one step further and send them a gift. I’m talking about flowers, a meal, a gift card, or even a small plant. The goal here, much like a note, is to show that you’re thinking of them and are sorry they’re going through this tough time. Sometimes a small gift can convey that better than a note. Before you send them a gift, make sure you follow your state’s rules and regulations on gift-giving.
A lot of the time, there’s a tendency to send a note or a gift, and then call it good. We think we did all we could, and that’s that. You reached out, you let them know how you felt, so what else could there be? What most people forget to do is follow up. Consider checking in with your clients more than once. Wait a few weeks or a month, and then reach out again. Make sure they’re still doing okay. You’d be surprised how rare this is, and how much of an impact it can have. What may have felt like a courtesy to your client at first, now feels like an intentional and caring message that shows you haven’t forgotten their hardship. It shows empathy and that you really are concerned about them.
How would you want to be treated if you were going through a hard time? What would you want people to say to you? Consider doing the same for your clients. Be kind, be generous, and, most of all, be there. Your clients will appreciate it.
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