Client Retention is one thing that some businesses forget to take advantage of.
They spend every waking hour thinking of ways to bring in new business but only one meeting a month on how to keep it! Now is the time to put a client retention plan into action. Get involved with your clients weather it is tracking their anniversary of the day they opened and sending flowers or stopping for a visit and bringing doughnuts for everyone. This is not rocket science but needs to be a part of your daily business or you will no longer be in business…
- Connect with your clients on a regular basis. Discuss with them regarding how often they would like you to check in. Even if they are busy when you call, with a smile they will happily make the time to chat with you for a few minutes.
- Make them happy. Express to the client that their problems are your problems. Even if the issue is with another vendor or something that is not something you can control. Find a way to sympathize with your client. Listen to how they rant about the problem and what ways they plan to fix it. Doing so will allow you to react properly in the future if they have an issue with you or your company. You may know what ways they need to be helped.
- Listen. More often than not we have multiple emails popping up and the other line is ringing during a call with a client. Avoid these distractions by standing or turning your chair around and admire the view out your window. Listening is an art and is a learned behavior that can strengthen a relationship or destroy it. Not to be dramatic but you know when you call to place an order for something and you end the call knowing that the person did not listen and you feel the need to call back. That is very discouraging and very bad business. Do not let that happen you your clients. Take a minute at the end of your call to recap the call and confirm with the client that you know what their needs are. Not only did you ensure that you have the knowledge to take the action needed to meet their request but they will appreciate that you listened and appreciate their business.
- What needs do they have? Find out what makes them tick. Where do they want to go with their business? This may sound fundamental and it is easy to assume what you think they want but this is where you end up missing the boat and one of your best clients is now utilizing your competitor. If you make it known that their needs are at the top of your list and you prove this to them they will never ever leave. Loyalty cannot be bought, just earned.
- How do you prioritize? Do you ever have those days you will find yourself in a whirl wind of reactionary emails and calls that come in? Set up a game plan; if you see a call or email come in as you are speaking with another client or building an email ignore it. Once you have a minute collect what you need to have regarding the client and contact them or place them on a list with a sense of urgency. Maybe a one thru five ranking system, something that will help you prioritize.
- Can you be friends with your Clients? Knowing the boundaries of this type of scenario is the key. Not only for you but the client. This is not a person that you will discuss your deep down darkest issues with. You will need to find a level of comfort and pay very close attention to what they offer and try not to go past that. Meaning that you need to mirror their behavior and create a comfort level with them at their pace.
Making the decision to implement client retention as a part of your day to day routine sounds easy but it is like anything new, you love doing it for two weeks and then it fades away. Do not let this happen! Make sure that you stay in front of this. Hire an energetic and honest person that will represent your company to your clients the way you would. This may be the most difficult person to find but you will know in your gut when you have the right person. You need to do this job for a while in order to find the best person for the job. No sales people needed, just a positive person that loves to help people.