If you own your own business, or if you are in a position of influence at one, right now is the perfect time to reevaluate your company’s client retention strategies. Often, people are so focused on generating new business and projects that they neglect to nurture and retain those they already have. While growth is important for any business, most of the time it costs far less in time, effort and assets to retain and grow current business than to find new business. Below are some quick tips for keeping a full client list.
1) Set expectations and outline deliverables. It’s important to set expectations for your clients early in the process, and to outline exactly what they can expect to receive for their money and when. If your client’s budget is minimal but they’re asking for the world in return, let them know right from the start – don’t make promises you can’t keep or you’ll risk losing them when you under deliver. Provide your clients with work plans and timelines and follow them closely. Remember, happy clients equal long-term clients.
2) Communicate often. Clients are more likely to stay with you if they’re receiving regular updates and progress reports on the work you’re providing. Whether these updates come in the form of regular meetings, phone calls, emails, or weekly activity summaries, they all serve to keep clients in the loop about how their project is coming along, and also gives you both the opportunity to ask questions and introduce new ideas or findings.
3) Get feedback. Rather than waiting until a project has been completed to ask your client for feedback, ask them directly while your project is ongoing. How do you feel things are going? What can we do better? Were you happy with…? Not only is this a great opportunity for you to get feedback on your performance directly from the client, but it serves to show your commitment to delivering a good product or service. If they’re unhappy, this will give you an opportunity to make it right. If they’re already thrilled with you, well what’s better than that?!
4) Say thank you. Your current clients are the ones that help keep you in business, so don’t forget to tell them how much they mean to you and your business – take them out to coffee or lunch, send a small appreciation gift, or remember to send a quick thank you e-mail to make sure they know you appreciate their business and you enjoy working with them. A little gesture can go a long way to building and maintaining client relationships.
While it will always be important for your business that you continually generate new business, it’s equally, if not more important to maintain solid ground with those who have already given you their business, and trust.
If you’re interested in working with us on your marketing needs, we’d love to add you to our long list of happy clients – and take you out for a coffee to chat about it. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.