Customer loyalty is an important key to continuous revenue. It costs more to gain new clients than to retain current clients.
Retaining a client takes effort and should not be taken for granted. When we become complacent, or forget that the possibility of losing a client is alive and well, that client just may move on.
When things shift, it is time to evaluate how you got there. If you are paying attention, you know something has changed. Yes, that client may be loyal, but don’t take it for granted.
Just like any other relationship, the things we did to attract/gain new clients must continue throughout the relationship. What is it that you are doing differently than someone else in your field that attracted the current client in the first place?
Ask yourself, “What are the triggers that occurred to signify that this relationship is possibly in jeopardy? Don’t wait, it may already be too late.
Be of Service
- Tip #1 ~ The secret to enhancing loyalty is putting the clients needs first. Making sure that regardless of how many clients we have, that one client is the most important and only focus at that moment.
Working closely with clients develops trust. We learn how they think, what the individual strengths, style, likes and dislikes are. If the relationship continues for more than six months or longer, there is a bond and a true sense of loyalty.
It’s not about us, but about the client. Regardless if you sell products or provide a service, we are there to help the clients business develop and grow.
Losing A Client is Difficult
A client of six years told me that I had moved forward, she was not moving as fast and could not keep up. She told me she had found someone that would be slower and more compatible with her.
As much as she loved working with me, she thought it would be best to stick with this new person.
It was not a surprise, I knew things felt different, I honestly felt the shift and did nothing about it.
- Tip #2 ~ Recognize when there is a shift in energy and do something.
As your business is growing, it is important not to neglect the clients that have been loyal along the way. If things start to feel different, they are.
Evaluate what you are doing that is causing the shift. Take responsibility for it and adjust.
My client felt like I had become too busy for her. Understand, this is a high maintenance client that requires a lot of attention. She would call me some days 4 or 5 times with similar topics, at times repeating the same information.
When my business was slower, I would patiently listen, respond quickly, regardless of the day or time. I made her feel that her call was important to me.
As business picked up, I could not always answer the calls. I had to realize that I created that issue. I had not set appropriate boundaries in the beginning, so of course my client felt a shift.
- Tip #3 ~ Set boundaries and be consistent.
Every client should receive the same amount of courtesy and respect but you have to set boundaries. Whatever your boundaries are, communicate them in the very beginning and stick to it.
I recognized a shift with my client because I changed. I stopped answering every call because I had become very busy. Had I set the correct boundaries in the beginning, she never would have felt the difference.
Loyalty Is A Two Way Street
No matter what business we are in, we all want loyal customers.
- Tip #4 ~ Know your client/customer/niche – be the “go to” person
Loyalty goes both ways. During the time that you are interacting, servicing, selling to your client, knowing what their most important needs are is extremely important.
Keep in mind, as you are getting to know them, they are getting to know you. Often, it is about trust. Not only are they seeing your loyalty to them, they are becoming loyal to you.
They learn to trust when they don’t have time to explain details, or possibly something they had not thought about, you will know enough to take the ball and run with it. They become confident that you will figure it out, and make it happen.
Within three hours of my client informing me that she was moving on, she called me back to apologize and asked that we continue to work together.
I had already spoken to the new person and we were transitioning the work. I suppose the new person wasn’t fast enough and my client did not have the time or patience…something clicked. For the next week, my client was apologizing as she was asking me to take care of something for her.
- Tip #5 – Say Thank You
Sometimes we just have to say “Thank you for your business”. It’s the holiday season – a great time to send cards or some type of momento to your current and past clients. This is absolutely the best time of year to share your heart and be grateful.
If you are looking to gain more clients/customers, you now have an opportunity to remind previous and potential clients that you are still here. It’s amazing how far a small gesture can take you.
If nothing else, it’s all about being grateful and appreciating our clients and ourselves. Evaluating where we are and what we can do to continuously nurture our client base is key.
What recommendations might you share that have worked in retention of your customer base?