It’s one thing getting clients, but do you know how to keep them happy? Client retention is just as important as getting the client signed up in the first place. So, how do you make sure that your clients stay with you for the long haul?
1. Be responsive
Being and staying responsive is very important, especially when it comes to the virtual relationship. Be prompt at replying to emails and returning voicemails. Even if you don’t know the answer, let your client know that you’ll get back to him/her when you’ve found out. If you hit on a problem, don’t hide it, let your client know. There’s nothing worse than being left in the dark, wondering if the work’s going to get done.
2. Exceed expectations wherever possible
If a client is expecting a 7 day turnaround on some work, how about trying to get it to him/her within 5 days? I just did this for a client who was counting on getting something back within a week. I sent it back within 5 days and they were really pleased.
3. Ask for feedback
Once your client has had an opportunity to work with you, ask for feedback and encourage any suggestions that they have about how you might improve on the service you give them. By asking for this kind of input, your client will really feel that you care about them and their business. They’ll also know that you’re focused on providing not just good service but excellent service. Think about it, how often do your service providers ask you for feedback? I bet not that often. How impressed would you be if your accountant asked you for feedback about his services?
4. Help them out
After a while you’ll get to know your clients and what might be useful to them. If you come across a relevant magazine, website or book that would help, tell them about it. Or if you know a good service provider, refer that person to them. It shows that you’re thinking of them, above and beyond the usual working relationship.
5. Build a connection
You don’t need to become your client’s best friend but try to engage with them on a more personal level than purely the working relationship.
This doesn’t have to take too much time or go beyond boundaries. For example, one of my clients mentioned that he would be away the following week because it was school holidays and he was taking the kids away. So next time I spoke to him I asked how it went and what he got up to with his little ones. We had a nice conversation which flowed naturally into the work. It doesn’t take much to remember details about your clients and be genuinely interested in them.
6. Keep promises
If you say you’re going to send information or check on something, make sure you do. I’m not sure why this is, but so many people say they’re going to do something and don’t. This reflects on your professionalism – if you can’t get back to them on something simple, what’s your work going to be like?
7. Reward them for staying with you
Sending birthday and holiday gifts to your clients is a nice touch. You could also send surprise gifts during the course of the year such as cinema tickets or a massage voucher.
These are a few ideas I came up with off the top of my head. I’m sure there are many more! Do any of you have any other ideas for keeping clients happy?