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The Five Golden Rules Of Client Retention

Nov 20, 2007
Rule 1: Level with them.

With client retention you have two types of clients; those who care about service and those who care about price. So, how do you retain clients with such disparate needs? The answer is leveling. Create tiered service packages; the higher the price the more personalized the service. A base package may offer a cut rate price, but feature no perks, like on site service. A deluxe package may be pricey, but includes the best service your company can offer. By creating a leveling system you can finally make everyone happy, and a happy customer is one who sticks around.

Rule 2: Create a Community.

One sure way to retain your clients is by making them feel that they are more then just a check, but part of a larger community. What does this mean? It can be as simple as sending out a monthly newsletter with useful information, along with stories from satisfied customers. Host an open house where clients are invited to share refreshments and get to know the people in the office. When your clients start to see you as more then just another name in the phone book, they will find it harder to replace you.

Rule 3: Make Them Money

Everyday your clients are cold called by people offering to save them money, and unless you can meet that need they are going to leave. Retain your customers by having bi-annual meetings to discuss how you can cut their costs or increase revenue. If you see a way to save them money, even if it may temporarily harm your bottom line, then let them know. That honesty will serve you well when they are booming again. Also, keep your ear out for any leads that you can send towards your clients. An easy way to retain customers is to keep them rich!

Rule 4: Don't be afraid to admit a mistake.

Your most loyal customers aren't the ones who never have a problem, but the ones who have had issues with you and feel their concerns were satisfied. Customer retention is about openness and honesty. If you've made a mistake admit it, and then let them know why it won't happen again. Trust isn't built when times are good, but when they are bad. The truth is that you are going to make mistakes in business. Maybe you hired someone who let you down, or you made a promise you couldn't keep. Your customers know that you aren't perfect, and they would rather stay with someone who is honest then someone who covers things up to keep up appearances.

Rule 5: Keep Checking In.

Longtime clients are usually not lost because of something you did, but what you didn't do. If they feel taken for granted they are more likely to be persuaded by someone new who seems to be giving them more attention. Not to mention that business changes rapidly. The old buyer you'd been dealing with for 20 years may retire tomorrow, and if you don't get to know the new guy he'll move on to someone else. Client retention may be as easy as making a phone call to see how things are going.
About the Author
Jason Forthofer is a writer for Get Up & Go! Sales Incentives which provides incentives to help you grow your business and client retention.
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