I spent a few days last week in rural North Carolina eating some of the best whole-hog barbecue anywhere. In every restaurant that I visited, the manager or owner ran the front of the house, ensuring that each customer is treated like a welcomed family member. In fact, Rick Monk at Lexington Barbecue started calling me "Yank" while I was seated at the counter.
Why don't professionals treat their clients like this? We type formal emails, leave formal voice messages, and draft letters to accompany invoices. Why not treat clients like family members? Welcome clients into your practice like your quirky aunt, your quiet uncle, or the relative who can only talk about golf. Imagine how they will feel when treated in this manner. You might be surprised how it cuts down on customer churn.
Having said that, all families face squabbles. I was on the phone with a client the other day whose business is off significantly, due primarily to existing customers altering their spending habits. Treating your customers like families does not preclude you from doing NEW BUSINESS, which is how barbecue restaurants continue to thrive. Their existing customers rave about their experience, which attract Yankees like me to their legendary pork barbecue.