3 Keys to Increase Client Retention
Written by Aaron Salt on June 23rd, 2018
Everyone is looking for ways to grow and scale their business. Many small business owners misunderstand what can truly help them sustainably grow their business. The best way to grow is by retaining your existing clients.
Acquisition is expensive. It’s significantly cheaper to retain clients, and there are some specific steps you can take to keep retention rates high.
Step 1: Embrace Them with Gratitude
The very best thing you can do is thank them for choosing you as their service provider. There are several different businesses they could have chosen, but they didn’t. They chose you. They trusted you.
I’m a big fan of sending thank you cards. In a day and age where everything is done through technology like email, Facebook, or any other number of platforms, there’s something about sending them a physical card.
It’s not a time to market. It’s 100% about them.
I use a service called BannerSeason, that automates thank you cards, onboarding messages, and customized gifts. Click the above link for more information.
Step 2: Onboard Clients Well
Not everyone who hires you really wants to hire you. They could be skeptics, financially strapped, or just out of options. One of the best things you can do is to onboard them in a way that makes them feel comfortable and appreciated.
The best thing you can do to aid client retention rates is to start well. You’ve heard the saying, “you only have one shot at a first impression.” If the new client doesn’t feel like they belong, or they don’t feel comfortable or welcome, you will have an uphill battle to get them back in the door.
- Welcome Them: Welcome the new client to your business. This can be in a physical card, email, or just when they walk through the door (or you through theirs). It’s important to greet them with a smile and shower them with friendliness. People let down their guard and insecurities when they feel welcomed.
- Set the Expectations: Let the new client know what to expect. A lot of businesses will have a guide on their website to explain their initial appointment. Having a pamphlet at can assist as well. But it doesn’t need to stop there. You want them to know what the process is for being a client. Having these expectations set up front will provide a sense of ease.
- Answer Questions: Once the new client has been welcomed and the expectations have been set, it’s time to answer any questions they have. Most people will already have an idea of what their experience will be like, either from working with a different provider or because they’ve received an impression from a 3rd party (friends, televisions, etc.). You don’t want them to keep a misinformed impression for too long, so offering to answer any questions will help them better understand what you do and why you’re different.
Step 3: Stay Top-of-Mind
The final step in client retention is to stay top-of-mind. There are numerous ways you can do this, but I prefer either physical cards (again, BannerSeason) or phone calls. Both are a bit more personal than an email list.
With cards, you can set up a campaign with summer barbecue recipes or a special holiday greeting. Once it’s set, you can just select who you want to send it to, and it will be mailed out to everyone on that list.
It’s simple and effective.
The phone calls are personal. They take more time, but it works. Not from your “office” or a representative, but from you. Schedule an hour or two a week to make a few calls (and get your partners involved too). It means more when it’s from you and not your receptionist.
Staying in touch, when it’s not directly related to an appointment (or you getting money from them), is a great way to stay top-of-mind, and really add value to the relationship.
Keep it personal. Focus on the relationship.
If you can maintain those two goals as your target, you should have no issues with client retention.
Aaron Salt owns and operates a consulting firm based in Colorado. He is educated in psychology, social work, software development, and project management. Aaron’s background provides a diagnostic-like approach to business, which has allowed him success with multiple service-based industries.