Attracting clients is only the first step in building a successful company. The trickiest part lies in keeping them. It’s vital to have a solid plan in place for keeping your clients happy to ensure they stick with you in the long-term. Keep reading for 9 useful client retention strategies.
1) Transparent communication
Trust is important for any client relationship, so don’t mislead or lie to clients. Transparent communication is an important strategy for building trust, and it’ll also prevent miscommunication.
You wouldn’t want to do business with someone who seems shifty, and neither do your clients. The best way for a trusting relationship to work is by being honest with clients, even when things aren’t particularly going well. They’re likely to appreciate this much more than someone who keeps them in the dark.
2) Focus on keeping a relationship
A good relationship is the foundation of any client retention strategy. This doesn’t necessarily mean inviting your clients round for dinner, but your client also shouldn’t dread answering your calls. As well as delivering professional advice and services, it can be nice to just have a chat. Obviously, don’t push the boundaries past what’s appropriate. However, if you’ve known a client for a while or they’re a particularly chatty person, it can help to remember information they give about their personal life. A personal rapport with clients will encourage them to stay with you, as they see you as a person rather than a corporate representative.
3) Provide personalised service
No client is ever the same, so your approach to their needs shouldn’t be either. The last thing you want to do is take a one-size-fits-all approach to your clients. In fact, this is probably the fastest way to lose a client.
Even if your business is particularly niche, you can personalise the way you help clients. Create plans and goals for what you plan to achieve for your clients, and keep them updated with their progress. Putting in a little more effort to make sure clients know exactly what you’re doing for them will make all the difference.
4) Make each client feel important
You could be juggling masses of clients, or maybe only one. Either way, every client you work with should feel as though they’re your top priority. Just because a client may be smaller than another, don’t make them feel small. If you’re consistently letting someone down in favour of another client, don’t be surprised when they take their business elsewhere. What might be a small budget for one business can be a big investment for another, so make sure you appreciate your clients’ business and loyalty.
Some brands might send out gifts or cards around special occasions – for example, Christmas or the client’s Birthday. Be careful with this, however, as it can come across as insincere.
5) Ask for feedback
Everyone has room for improvement, and that’s why it’s so important to check in with your clients and ask for feedback. Some people aren’t the best communicators, and if you’re doing something a client doesn’t like, they might not know how to bring it up. Asking for feedback also makes clients feel more valued, as it shows that you care about their opinions and are willing to be flexible to their needs.
Regularly asking clients how satisfied they are with your work is helpful for making sure you’re on the same page about what works. A client may not understand certain methods or choices that are part of your process, so knowing their concerns will help you explain them clearly.
6) Keep your own staff happy
In many instances, there’ll be more than one person from your company who comes into contact with clients. But how can you ensure they uphold the right level of professionalism? The answer is simple – keep your staff happy to keep your clients happy.
Someone who’s miserable in their job probably won’t feel like having a smile on their face 24/7. However, if your employees are content, then they’ll be more incentivised to treat your clients in a positive way. This doesn’t have to involve huge pay rises or a bouncy castle in the office. Simply treating other employees with the same level of respect and friendliness that you’d expect your clients to receive is a good way of ensuring that they mirror this behaviour.
7) Apologise for mistakes
Nobody’s perfect, and your clients understand this as well as you do. That’s why you should own up to your mistakes instead of attempting to brush them under the rug. If you’ve made a mistake and your client isn’t pleased, the best way to make it up to them is by apologising straight away. Don’t get defensive or deny that it was a mistake – this is more likely to annoy a client even more. We can’t stress enough how crucial communication is to your client relationship, so being straightforward about both the good and the bad is the best way to go.
8) Build positive word of mouth
Selling your own services will only go so far – you need an outstanding reputation among the clients you’re trying to attract and keep. Word of mouth is an old-school method of marketing, but it’s timeless, too. You’re much more likely to take a recommendation from a friend or trusted associate than you are from a stranger or from a business promoting themselves. When you establish yourself as reliable and great at handling clients, they’ll want to sing your praises too. This way, when a friend or associate of your client enlists you for help, they’re likely to stick around whilst your other clients do too.
9) Have an amazing client onboarding process
Make your client services stand out from the get go by mastering your client onboarding. Client onboarding is the process you’ll undertake when a client first joins you, and it could make or break how long a client stays with you. Even though it’s essential that you plan for the long-term of your new client relationship, first impressions definitely count. If you want to become a master of client onboarding, read our guide for expert advice.
Keeping clients happy is essential for the success of your business. If you want to continue growing your company, get in touch with our team for expert digital marketing advice.
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