Loyalty is one of those rare qualities that cannot be replicated. It is someone’s ability to stay faithful or committed to a person, place, or thing. In business, loyalty means having clients that will only come time and time again to your firm for help – they won’t even think of going elsewhere. You can see how loyal clients are a business asset that you should strive to create.
Knowing this, a lot of firms must be focusing on growing client retention, right? Wrong.
Only 18% of businesses focus on client retention and 44% focus on client acquisition. Unknown to them, this actually hurts their bottom line as client acquisition costs can be five times more expensive than client retention costs. And not only does client retention bring costs down, it also brings profits up. Just a 5% increase in client retention can increase your profit by 25% to 95%, according to a study by Bain & Company and the Harvard Business School.
As evidenced above, client retention is a worthwhile focus for your professional services firm. To help you make client retention a top priority at your firm and improve your bottom line, here are seven best practices and strategies that can help you lock down loyal, faithful clients.
1. Be Responsive
Being unresponsive can leave a bad impression on clients. Without a timely response from you, clients are left waiting and wondering how much you really care about their business. In a service based industry, answering client emails, calls, or texts in a timely fashion are important for improving client satisfaction and impressing them with how much you value their relationship.
Encourage your firm’s sales, business development, or customer service teams to be more responsive with clients by implementing client communication rules. For example, you can create a rule at your firm for all client communications to receive a response in 24 hours or less. Even if a client doesn’t ask for a response, this rule ensures that your clients will never be waiting be waiting on you and left with a reassurance that you’re listening to them and their needs.
2. Customize Communications
Every client you have is a unique individual with different backgrounds, preferences, and needs. But clients don’t always feel unique when they receive a generic spam email or newsletter. In fact, they may feel like just another number, which isn’t necessarily good for business or promoting client retention.
Help clients feel special by taking the extra step to customize your client communications. This means no more mass generalized emails or holiday cards. Instead, personalize your messages with your client’s name and other unique traits. For example, if you are aware that a client recently got back from a vacation, ask how they enjoyed their time away in your next follow up to strengthen your client relationship.
3. Support Clients Proactively
Reactive support only solves problems once they arrive. Proactive support solves a problem before it happens.
Which one would you prefer as a client?
Support clients proactively by closely monitoring and communicating with your client accounts. Keep a watchful eye on their status and communications for any warning signs that may indicate a dip in client satisfaction or a potential service gap. If you want to make proactive support an even easier task, implement relationship analytics into your firm’s CRM. With enhanced algorithms, you can receive automatic alerts when key accounts become at risk, giving your team ample time to step in and mitigate issues before they arise.
4. Reward Loyalty
How can you encourage clients to come back and back again to your firm, creating a habit that’s hard to break? Incentivize them to return to you for help by rewarding their loyalty. As a professional services firm, not an airline or retail store, it can be hard to imaging a loyalty program that fits your business model. After all, it’s not like you can give clients a loyalty credit card or redeemable points. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
Create a loyalty program at your firm by giving return clients a small discount that incentivizes them to use your firm. Alternatively, you can try bundling your services together as a but one, get one half-off or something similar. The key to successful loyalty reward is making it relevant for your clients. To accomplish this, make sure that whatever reward you do end up offering is tailored for each client and their needs.
5. Exceed Expectations
Providing good service is a requirement for any firm, but going the extra mile to provide exceptional customer services is becoming a key differentiator for many firms. Not only does this extra mile show clients you value their relationship, but it also helps ensure that they’ll stick with you when competitors knock on their door. If they know you do extra for them, why would they go anywhere else?
Exceed your clients’ expectations by always doing more than what they ask for – within reason, of course. Short of expenditures that are out of scope, give them additional detail, information, or insights than they asked for. These are usually quick and free ways to show clients that you pay close attention to their account, but also that you are willing to spend more time on them. This helps your team develop stronger relationships with clients and establish an elevated level of trust.
6. Become a Trusted Advisor
In our experience, trust is often the gateway to loyalty. Without trust, clients are less likely to return to your firm. Build trust into your client relationships by taking every opportunity to offer up your firm’s expert advice and showcase your team’s expertise. To do this, encourage your team to share their thought-provoking ideas and leading advice over their social media networks or through your firm’s newsletter. If your firm utilizes a company blog, post thought leadership and how-to content from your team’s experts. These strategies and more make it easy for clients to access your trusted resources at any time, making your firm a go-to place for valuable help.
7. Listen to Feedback
If you don’t know how you’re performing, how will you ever improve? Conduct regular client surveys to make sure you are collecting and reviewing your client’s feedback on your performance. To start, try doing an annual or every quarterly survey. Through this survey, you will be able to identify areas at your firm that are underperforming and could be affecting your client satisfaction level. Based on their answers, keep the ball rolling by taking action to address client concerns and improve those areas of your firm.
Improve Your Bottom Line With Loyalty
Client retention and loyalty drives costs down and profits up. For more ideas on how to retain your firm’s clients, review these three ways firms can drive client loyalty and satisfaction.