When I was studying for my marketing exams, one of my lecturers continually told us that the cost to acquire a new client was seven times higher than retaining an existing client. So why do so many business owners not pay enough attention to their clients? To make sure you’re not falling foul of this error read the following and make sure that you are staying on top of retaining your clients.
Improve stimulation. Be ahead of your competition with new methodologies and approaches. Share insights to help your clients expand their knowledge. This can be anything from sharing an article or blog post to advising on the highlights from a recent talk you attended. It all demonstrates that you are aware of what is going on in the industry.
Exceed client expectation. We know that once you have taken on a new client the hard work is just about to begin. Clients will remain with you if you exceed their expectations and provide great products or service. Attracting new customers is far more costly to a business than retaining existing clients – so go the extra mile, it’s worth it.
Appreciate your clients. This is true of all relationships whether professional or personal, people like to be appreciated. Say thank you to your client, tell them they are doing a great job, consider hosting a client event where you can arrange for them to meet people in their peer group.
Actively listen to what your client is saying. All too often people are thinking about the next question or the point they want to get across rather than being truly engaged with what the other person is saying. When you actively listen and focus on your client you can begin to ask them powerful questions which will make you stand out from the other suppliers who are just trying to talk.
Obtain feedback. It is crucial to obtain feedback on a regular basis, ideally once a year. The best way to collect this information is to get a third party to undertake this on your behalf and use a tool like Survey Monkey which makes it much easier for the client to respond. When you get feedback from your clients it enables you to make any necessary changes but feedback isn’t and shouldn’t be all negative, it’s also about celebrating successes.
At some point some of your clients might leave you for another supplier and although we would all like to have zero defection we have to recognise that this is a possibility. However, saying goodbye doesn’t mean that ‘hello again’ isn’t an option in the future. Keep communicating with your clients both past as well as present. Keep sharing your insights, ensure that you stay at the forefront of industry developments and you might just find those ex-clients becoming clients again.