Have you ever experienced the drudgery of a major clean-up project – an attic or basement say or perhaps a yard? Isn’t it just amazing how much work needs to be done and how some of it is harder to do because there are layers of it? Plus there is the likelihood that the clean-up project generates other related and subsidiary projects that suck up more of your limited resources.
Well if you haven’t faced this type of situation you are either a very well organized and efficient person, a very fortunate one or perhaps one who does not care or need to care about it. Client relationships are much like the described clean-up types of projects. If we do not keep up with things, the process of getting caught back up sometimes comes as an unpleasant surprise and often becomes a monumental job that consumes a great deal of time and energy.
Worse yet, your client might somehow get the idea that you have not been doing your job or right by the client because of your falling behind and finding it necessary to move into a clean-up and catch-up mode. Well, your yard or your attic are not going to fire you and move their business elsewhere. But your client might. Yes, you might hire a service to tackle the house and yard but your personalized advice relationship with a client does not stand up to that treatment.
There are a number of methods to help you avoid falling into this trap and the most effective ones all require some form of organization of your ongoing client experience. Whether you use a contact management system that reminds you when to check in with clients on particular issues or a fixed periodic review applicable to all clients or some other similar and repeatable format, it is essential that you stay engaged with your clients proactively and not reactively.
Just like your home projects, doing a little bit of work on them on a regular basis keeps you on top of the overall situation and allows you to plan for when to do a little more as needed. This way the job never gets too big and the client never feels unimportant to you.