Do you know how much it costs you to gain a client? You should find out, because it might shock you.
Once you’ve factored all the setup costs, marketing, sales efforts, time, wages and more, you may find that the cost for you to acquire a single customer will be surprisingly large.
The cost to keep one, on the other hand, is impressively small.
It follows then that you should be concentrating on retention more so than acquiring new customers.
So, once you have won a customer – how do you keep them? What are some secrets of client retention?
Over deliver, never over promise
This is a simple one that is easy to achieve. The idea is very straightforward: never over promise anything to a client.
This is one of the fastest ways you can lose trust and see a once dedicated client walk out the door.
Keep your claims modest and your marketing factual. If you make a booking, keep it. If you make a claim about the service you offer, achieve it. Better yet, surpass it.
The best thing you can do is over-deliver. Give them an extra 5-10 minutes of your time or make your service even more professional and valuable than you initially indicated.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t sell yourself – just don’t oversell.
Pleasant surprise is your ally when seeking client retention. So, make this a part of your regular client interaction and don’t relent.
“The habit of doing more than is necessary can only be earned through practice”― Seth Godin
Reward your clients properly
One of the keys to retaining clients is by creating meaningful rewards and incentivising them to stay put.
Create a truly valuable rewards program to incentivise loyalty. It’s always best to be dangling a carrot.
What this looks like depends on your business, but the core idea remains the same – make sure it is a meaningful incentive to remain a client, not a cheap gimmick.
- Offer discounts for multiple sessions
- Create promo and spread them to your valued clients through a social or email campaign
- Gift service-related products as a bonus to returning customers
- Offer a free half hour session as a Christmas or birthday gift
- If you’re a hairdresser, for example, give free product to returning customers
- Make every eighth class at your dance studio free
- If you’re a gardening business, give a free hedge trim with every lawn mowing booking
It’s up to you, but make sure it’s a meaningful incentive, not a cheap trick.
An easy way to stave off issues is to keep communication lines open and respond quickly to fires. If you have a frustrated customer, you have a small window to turn this around and keep them loyal and satisfied.
This means you have to be on your game when it comes to accepting and fielding customer issues. Monitor your social media accounts daily for negative comments or complaints. Deal with them ASAP before you lose a customer or even more from the perceived negativity.
The best way to lose a loyal customer forever to a competitor is to ignore their emails, phone calls or social posts. Stop it before it builds.
What if you do lose them?
Learn lessons through an exit questionnaire or discussion. Knowledge is power and you need to know why clients leave so you can fix the issue and plug the hole.
A true client focus – make it easy
Make it easy to like you. In fact, just make your customer’s life easy.
This is about ways you can make your client’s interactions with you easy, quick, meaningful and frictionless. It’s about providing value in a seamless way to increase client loyalty and retention.
The aim is to integrate ease, value and a lack of friction at all points of your business. If it’s easy to do business with you, loyalty and repeat business follows.
An approachable website
Ensure your website is clear, easily navigated and with the most essential information and calls to action (CTA’s) front and center, primarily, your online booking link.
Simple contact and booking options
As a service business you need to make it a breeze to book you. Use modern booking software instead of relying on arduous personal contact methods like phone and email. Keep your method to the least amount of clicks and effort possible.
Genuinely useful advice for your audience
Use your marketing channels, not to spam your clients but to provide meaningful and valuable assets or advice. If you’re a trainer, provide plans, templates, tips and inside information. Make it truly useful and of value and watch loyalty climb.
Remember – getting customers is hard and expensive. Keeping them is easy and cheap. Keep that top of mind with every client interaction.