How to Develop and Implement a Client Retention Strategy
If you lost one client, how would that affect the bottom line of your business? What if you lost two clients? Five? Ten? Clients leaving your organization for a competitor is a very real prospect. It’s something that all business owners must consider. The sooner you think about it, the better off your future profit will be.
What Is a Client Retention Strategy?
A client retention strategy is the plan that your business puts together in order to decrease the likelihood that your clients will take their business (and their money) to another provider. The happiness of your clients will determine just how long they continue to use their services…and whether they will refer others to you. So, your client retention strategy is about securing and then continuing to maintain their satisfaction.
Regardless of your industry, there are four items that you must consider to draft and implement a client retention strategy. However, your industry may change how the following items should be handled. For instance, the legal and medical industries have some legal limitations on things that could be considered a valuable reward for referrals or as a gift. So, if you’re in an industry that has rules and laws surrounding it, keep those things in mind. Always avoid the appearance of impropriety.
What Does Your Target Market Want and Need from You?
Happiness and satisfaction are broad concepts. Let’s say that you sell cheeseburgers. Some people like cheeseburgers with onions and mustard. Other people want nothing more than meat and cheese and would feel unhappy if it was given to them any other way. The group of people would be the same: people who like cheeseburgers. Yet, in order to get people to eat your cheeseburgers, you’d have to know how they like their cheeseburgers…or they would go somewhere else for a cheeseburger.
The same idea is true with regard to your target market. If you’re a law firm, think about what your clients need from you. For instance, if you practice family law, of course your clients may need a divorce, a custody agreement, a pre-nup, or even a guardianship. There are a lot of different services that may be required of you, but what else do they need besides your legal expertise? They need a legal advocate who they believe is on their side. They need compassion. They need someone who can guide them through what is likely an emotional and stressful time. They need someone who can explain the legal process in terms that they can understand.
If you’ve already experienced the pain of losing clients, take the time to figure out why. Did they tell you why they were going somewhere else? If not, would they tell you why? Getting this information is absolutely vital. One of the best ways to do it is to set up a free online survey.
Action Tip: Think about your target market and write down all of their needs. You can even create a survey for your current clients to get their feedback.
Take Action Based on Feedback
Do your employees keep a list of complaints they receive? Are your bills hard to read and understand? Are clients upset because they don’t get their calls returned? Is the music or office chatter distracting to people who visit? After you’ve received feedback, take it into consideration and implement changes that your clients will appreciate. For instance, if clients complain about calls not being returned, implement a company wide policy that says all phone calls must be returned within 48 business hours.
Action Tip: Talk to your employees who deal directly with clients in person, via email, or over the phone. They will know about the complaints and feedback from clients and potential clients. They are a great source of information and can also be a great source of ideas that could make your clients happier.
Consider a Rewards Program for Client Loyalty
Rewards don’t have to be pricy. Offering free coffee and donuts can go a long way when clients come into your office. If your industry allows it, providing a gift card for coffee or lunch can be a great way to keep current clients happy. You could do something nice each year that acknowledges another year of business from the client. You could provide a reward for clients who refer someone to your company and that referral is successful. The reward can be as simple as 5% off a future invoice.
Action Tip: All too often, businesses create specials that bring in new clients and don’t do much for their long-term clients. Yet, current clients are far easier to continue to sell to when compared with acquiring a new client.
Personalize Your Client Care
If you really want to keep clients from leaving, treat them like they matter. Not all clients have the same needs. It is imperative to think of and treat your clients as individuals. For instance, if you know that someone cannot answer their cell phone until after 10:00 AM, then don’t call them until after that time. Taking the time to listen to your clients will help you find simple things that you can do to strengthen your relationship.
Make More Time to Focus on Your Clients
As business owner, you handle a lot of responsibilities. If you find that you’re often forced to choose between taking care of business tasks and taking care of client needs, you need Clients ARM. Clients ARM provides specialized services such as billing, customer service, collections, accounts receivable, outside financing, and more for your business. Clients ARM has more than 30 years of experience and is often 40% less expensive than hiring a traditional employee. To learn more about how we can help your business, schedule your free process review. There’s absolutely no obligation to learn more about our services.