Client retention strategies are more than just a catchphrase. They can be easy money if you plan it right.
Client retention sounds nice, right? You win a client, and they stick with you forever. Just because. We probably all know that’s not how it works. It takes effort to create and maintain long-lasting relationships with clients. Here’s why that effort pays off, though.
According to an article in Forbes, “it can cost five times more to attract a new customer, than it does to retain an existing one.” Not only that, but the article goes on to point out that a retention rate as little as 5% can boost your profits by up to 95%. But there are a lot of possible client retention strategies out there. Which ones work? Which give you the most bang for your buck? Do some of them cost you more than they’re worth? Let’s find out.
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7 Client retention strategies you need to start using right now
1. Customer service
Customer service is always, always, always the number one way to retain clients and to win new clients, for that matter. Customer service can mean different things, depending on your industry, but the short version is as old as humanity itself: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Be honest. Be transparent. Admit when you make a mistake and be upfront about how you plan to correct that mistake. Be fair. Excellent customer service costs you nothing, or at least very little, and the reward is a lifelong, happy customer.
2. Perfect your onboarding process
This might not be necessary for every business, but if you have a product or service that requires input from your client, it’s crucial that they know precisely how to use your product and how to find help if and when they need it. An example where an onboarding process would be helpful would be a home security system or working with a financial advisor.
This, again, takes little effort on your part, but it can ensure that your clients are comfortable and satisfied with your company. One easy way to implement this would be to have a day each week dedicated to follow-up calls. Your representative can call each new client to check their understanding of your service and troubleshoot any problem areas. You could recycle this process and call all of your customers (existing and new) on a monthly or quarterly basis, too. Oh, and a little self-promotion here, Call Logic can make this process exceptionally easy.
3. Customer loyalty program
This may be one of the most common client retention strategies around, but quite simply, it works. Airlines do it with frequent flyer miles, coffee shops do it with loyalty cards, and more importantly, your clients expect it. According to Bond Brand Loyalty, 65% of Gen Z and 71% of Millennials are highly influenced by loyalty programs.
4. Develop a customer board of directors
Who better to give you honest feedback than your current customers? Convene a customer board to meet via a call on a regular basis to go over your new products or services. Get feedback on your marketing. Find out where you’re missing the mark. Most likely, you have customers who would feel honored to be part of this project. It’s a great opportunity for you, too. Just make sure it’s worth their time by offering a discount or freebies or whatever seems to make the most sense.
5. Start a blog
A blog can help you gain new customers and retain the ones you have. Think of it as a two-for-one. But how? It’s an easy way to share with your clients. Give them insight into new products, let them see how your business works, share tips and ideas for getting the most benefit from the services you offer. Remember, you’re building a relationship with your clients. That doesn’t happen with a one-time sale; it occurs over time.
6. Be social
Social media is a simple and effective way to keep in touch with your clients. It’s your own mini-blog. Give your followers a behind-the-scenes tours of your office. Live-Tweet a conference. Show the production process for a new product. Tell your story and the stories of your suppliers.
You can communicate with your clients through social media, through your blog, on email, or with phone calls. However, you choose to do it, make sure it’s a regular part of your client retention strategies. What should you communicate? If you’re expecting an interruption in service, or you find out an order is delayed, let your clients know. If a tree falls on your driveway and you can’t make a meeting, let them know. If something they ordered is ready ahead of schedule, definitely communicate that.
Going back to the first strategy on this list, communication is at the heart of excellent customer service. When you keep your clients in the know, you can avoid misunderstandings, you can improve the relationship, and you can manage expectations more easily.
Client retention strategies: What not to do
There are also a few things you should avoid as part of your retention strategy. In your business, you will need to set boundaries. But sometimes you’ll need to be flexible with those boundaries.
As an example, if you charge a fee for appointments canceled with less than 24-hours notice, do you have exceptions for emergencies? If your client wakes up with a sick kid, and you charge them a missed appointment fee, guess who’s not coming back to see you?
The same goes for your rates. You do need to make a living, and charge a reasonable price for your offerings, but think ahead when you expect to raise your prices. Don’t surprise your clients with a higher fee. Give them plenty of notice. And if for some reason they don’t get the message, consider giving them a discount until the next sale.
Lastly, never argue with a client. Especially online. Even if you are 100% right. There may be misunderstandings. You may need to stop working together. But always stay calm and professional. Arguing with a client won’t do either of you any good. And if it gets to that point, the business relationship might be nearly over anyway.
Client retention doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it can be quite easy once you look past the hype. And it’s well worth the effort you put in.
Learn more about all the features Call Logic’s auto-dialer software includes that can help you retain more clients by signing up for a free demo today!