There is no “stock” or “canned” client appreciation program that every business can follow, but I have put together a rough outline of a program that a mortgage broker might use which I think can be adapted to almost any business.
The secret to a successful program is the ability to implement it systematically, with no disruption from your regular course of business. It should also have measurements built in to determine what is working and what might be changed.
The amount of money you invest in your client appreciation program should be proportional to the “Lifetime Value” of a client and the potential for referral business.
Step 1: Day of Loan Application – Client is mailed a “Thank You” card, with a $ 5.00 coffee gift certificate from Starbucks. This is when the client’s information should be entered into your database and the person who may have referred them sent a thank you note and/or some other form of thanks. A personal call to the referring person is important.
Step 2: Immediately After Application – Client is mailed a letter which clarifies the steps required and what they can expect. It should also include clear information on how to contact you and set their expectations of the process.
Step 4: At Final Document Signing – Attend all clients; final document signings to make sure everything goes smoothly and to deal with any issues that could possibly arise at the signing table.
Step 5: Within 10 Days of Close – Mail clients some item of value such as personalized return address labels or “Just Moved” announcement notices.
Step 6: Within first 30 Days After Close – Mail clients another item of value such as a free movie rental or a package of popcorn.
Step 7: Within first 45 days – Phone clients to make sure all is well with their mortgage, that their payments are being withdrawn properly etc.
Step 8: 46 – 60 Days After Close – Mail or deliver another item of value such as a photo album with pictures of their new home, a portfolio that they can store important papers in, gas shut-off wrench etc.
Step 9: 61 – 90 Days After Close – Phone clients and have a general conversation about their new home and if they need assistance offer a list of alliances that you can rely on.
Step 10: Every Month – Send your clients a free emailed or printed newsletter with real estate and home improvement related topics.
Step 11: Every Quarter – Mail client a personal letter to keep in touch, reinforce you are still available to help them and ask for referrals.
Step 12: Every 6 months – Phone each client to find out if they have any questions or concerns regarding any mortgage and/or financial issues and to remind them that your business depends on referrals.
Step 13: Every Birthday & Holiday – Send client by mail an appropriate card or note.
Step 14: End of Year – Deliver a gift of appropriate value with a hand-written card thanking them for their business and referrals.
When you are developing your client appreciation program it should feel like a natural extension of how people perceive you do business with them. Poor service before the sale is difficult to correct after the sale.
Set a client’s expectations high right from the beginning and over-deliver.
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