During the month of November, I have been posting on LinkedIn about the importance of looking after current clients. It followed a post I read on Annex Cloud and their '21 Surprising Customer Retention Statistics' - particularly around the financial aspects of retention. From the 21 statistics, they highlighted 'recruiting new customers costs five times as much as retaining current customers'.
This isn't a new fact, it gets mentioned a lot. It shows how important current clients are and why loyalty programmes are vital to the success and growth of your business. By loyalty, I mean how you look after those that keep your team busy all year round. More than the products or services you provide but how you communicate with customers, how you impress them and give them something positive to talk about.
In one such post on LinkedIn, I asked my network a question around their focus for 2019. The LinkedIn comments back gave growing their business and looking after current clients as two areas of importance. I was pleased with this response and endorsed their comments, based on my 20 years experience in marketing of what this means. How adding value to your customer experience of working with you, is key to keeping them happy, therefore loyal to your business.
Doo 1 Thing
This month's Doo 1 Thing is around the people you like working with and those who keep you in business. Make them your number 1 priority for 2019.
This is where I recommend you start. First of all take pen to paper, ready to prepare two lists.
What you do for current clients
List number one is around all the things you do for current clients now.
By this I mean, on top of the standard products or services you provide. Focus on the things you do to help them or as mentioned above, how you communicate with them. Take the latter for example 'we send terms and conditions to our clients at the start of the project so they know what's involved' or 'we give our customers details of their account manager so they know who is looking after them'.
What you can do to keep them
From this list, start to add how you can look after them even more. Something extra that will make them take notice of how you really value the relationship you have with them.
To help, I have given some examples from my clients:
- Fixed project / catch up calls - a great way to pick up on snags to respond to. You can also use this as case study or testimonial potential from positive comments.
- Quarterly / annual reviews - a face to face meeting to improve areas of the project, as well as an opportunity to find out how you can help them more.
- Facility to give feedback - a printed or digital version, after a project ends or at milestones, so you know customers are happy or to pick up on areas that require improvement.
- Referral incentives - a system in place to give back to customers who pass on your name as a referral based on great work. A gift or extra service giveaway.
- Thank you or general message cards - a pack of these in your office to say thank you for business passed or a well done message for something they have done.
- Relevant gifts - something that means a lot to your customers or relates to your business to help them. I give away books on communications, marketing systems or content writing. I think 'this book would really help them with this part of the project' and pass it on to help my clients.
- Seasonal cards - Christmas cards, branded even better! Special seasonal gifts for those who have made a difference to your business, again to say thank you.
- Corporate Hospitality - anything from a client lunch to an award ceremony invite, from a Christmas event to a day at the races. Taking time out with your customers all helps to enhance the relationship even further.
- Special mentions - LinkedIn is great for this, if a customer has done something special give it a mention. Perhaps recommend their services to others or just comment, share or like their post. They will notice and often return with a comment when needed.
- Customer Care Manual - make a log of how you expect a customer should be treated from the minute they come on aboard. This can be done in the style of 'for every customer we will ...' and list what you will do for them and what is in place to act when required. This leads me to ...
- Complaints Procedure - yes even the bad needs acting on so you get better and better! Make sure you have one in place, if you don't then we can help with a system and prepared document to put a complaints procedure in place.
You may just do one of the above, on top of what is expected. That one thing could really make you stand out as a good company to work with. From my experience of preparing Marketing Action Plans for business owners over the years, I know that just by making a list of what you do now can be quite an eye opener. Often my clients say "I didn't even know that was part of keeping clients, we just do it." Great, keeping doing it, it's keeping them loyal!
What you can do more of, to enhance the relationship further, will do wonders for your retention plans. Best of all it improves opportunities to get customers talking about you, to attract new ones just like them.
In 2019 and beyond.
If you need help to prepare your loyalty list or inspiration for ideas to retain customers, start with a Discovery Call. Get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call direct on 0113 869 0107.