3 Ways to Rock Client Retention

Let’s begin with a statistic. 80% of your future profits will come from 20% of your existing customers. Let’s read that again. 80% of your future profits will come from 20% of your existing customers.

Maybe it’s just me, but that’s a shocking figure. While it’s no surprise that most businesses focus on acquiring new customers, this should pique your interest in how to utilize the customers you already have.

Sure, it makes sense fundamentally and in theory, but we all know that keeping customers happy can take an enormous amount of time and resources. So how does the math work out when putting this stat to the test?

Marketing Wizdom has a great example of just how this breaks down:

“Imagine two businesses, one that retains 90 percent of its customers, the other retaining 80 percent. If both add new customers at the rate of 20 percent per year, the first will have a 10 percent net growth in customers per year, while the other will have none. Over seven years, the first firm will virtually double, while the second will have no real growth. Everything else being equal, that 10-percent advantage in customer retention will result in a doubling of customers every seven years without doing anything else. “

Reading that makes me feel like I’ve found the “secret sauce”. Just retain clients – it couldn’t be easier, right? But we all know that’s not reality.

According to Ross Beard at Client Heartbeat, “68% of customers leave because they are unhappy with the service they receive, and that 9% decided to use a competitor”.

Once you find out what your customers are looking for, and discover how to be proactive to their needs, the sooner your customers will stop flirting elsewhere.

So how does one go about doing this?

Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet since maximizing satisfaction and (ultimately) retention is the result of a host of factors. But, as they say, you’ve gotta start somewhere.


1. Obtain feedback

Often a company is so busy that it’s easy for client feedback to take a backseat to maintaining the day-to-day operations of the business.

While it takes effort on your part to do so, the best chance of client retention stems from direct and regular interactions with those utilizing your services. Not only will you find out how your business can best provide value to your customers, but you may also be able to gauge their sentiments toward your company and address potential flight risks.

Whether done through surveys, phone conversations, or face-to-face, this process as a whole can provide a wealth of insight. Some of what you discover may be relatively obvious or something that you’ve already recognized yourself, but be prepared to learn about areas of improvement that may have never landed on your radar.

Are your clients informed on all of the services that you offer? Could you be losing clients simply because a need isn’t being recognized and communicated?

“Proactive and honest communication with customers can be the difference between longevity and attrition.”

Before your firm launches into a client-satisfaction program, make certain that you have the tools in place to act upon your discoveries. By getting a handle on client feedback, you can be proactive when it comes to current needs, future needs, and you’ll have the data-driven feedback to make the decisions that are best for your business.

Surveys are the bread and butter for client feedback. Keep your survey short and only ask the questions that you intend to use in the future. Platforms like SurveyMonkey, and Typeform allow you to effortlessly build your survey so that you can share with your customer list or your social networks. Try using open-ended questions as well, so that your customers can feel heard and can have that platform to express their satisfactions as well as ideas.

Everyone wants to be heard and appreciated. That’s where the face-to-face meetings can be beneficial. Try inviting a client to lunch and ask them to explain any hesitancy they may have. Make sure you are actually asking for feedback. This is a perfect opportunity to converse one-on-one with your clients, so make sure to ask the questions that you’d like answers to. Your customer will walk away feeling valued, and you’ll have gained tons of insight into why your product is working, or what you could do to tweak it.


2. Build KPIs around customer service

Measuring good customer service isn’t easy. Remember that stat from above that said that 68% of your customers leave because they are dissatisfied with the service? Immediate response and making sure that the customer feels heard are among the top priorities to keep in mind.

Above, we talked about utilizing products like SurveyMonkey to help you stay involved with your customers and to gain feedback. KPI services such as Client Heartbeat can be great tools to help you leverage that data and turn it into actionable metrics. Client Heartbeat helps to seek out the customers you have that may be unhappy, identify why they’re unhappy, so that you can resolve the exact issues that they may be having.

Remember that the best way to track KPI is over time. Whether you choose to use a platform like Client Heartbeat, or you’d prefer something like Excel or your CRM, make sure you’re diligent about tracking your data over time. Why? Because without context, numbers have no real, actionable value.


3. Increase interaction time with clients

Let’s take for example earlier this year when I received a postcard reminder. Even though it was the first time I had heard from my veterinarian since last year, I’ll still use her, because I’m very familiar with her, I like her, and her office is in a convenient location.  For this example though, let’s assume I don’t have a previous relationship with her.

Let’s assume I just found her online, and she did a perfectly fine job with the care of my cat and dog. What else could she and her staff do to demonstrate value?

This is a great opportunity to utilize touch points to reinforce all of the services that they offer.  The week before I took my pets in for a check-up, my dog needed to be groomed.  What if the vet’s office had a groomer, but I was unaware as to that service. It’s important that each time I go in, they reinforce with me all of the services that they offer.

In addition to making your clients aware of your services, it’s a good idea to go above and beyond your competition. Simple actions such as sending a handwritten note just to say thank you can go a long way in separating yourself. Try to reinforce your value at multiple stages of the year with small elements of surprise that you will stick in your customer’s minds.

Sincere engagements and interactions are what make people happy and can be the difference between remembering you, or looking into your competition.


Do Your Homework

There’s so much involved with retaining clients that it’s impossible to cover in a single post. It encompasses everything from value perception and analytics to outreach gestures both big and small. Luckily, the web is full of fantastic, actionable content, so here are links to a few of our favorites:

  1. Being proactive
  2. Conducting client interviews
  3. Engagement surveys
  4. Reassessing your service offerings
  5. Being a thought leader
  6. Low tech ideas: Thank you cards, etc.
  7. Communications calendar
  8. Company blog
  9. Moving the conversations to social media
  10. Defining KPI and trending over time

We hope you find these resources useful and actionable, and if you have any suggested sources to add to the list, we’d love to hear from you!


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