Congratulations, you’ve got a new client! Now what?
Picking up a new client can seem like such a huge victory, but it’s only the beginning. You’ve also got to keep them. And to do that you’re going to need a plan.
Retention planning is the art of holding onto your clients. It’s about building relationships that last. To do that requires careful attention, excellent service and a concerted and sustained effort. You relax, you lose. According to the Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one, depending on the industry. That means that failing to keep an existing customer happy is a very expensive mistake you won’t want to make.
Fortunately, it’s preventable. Fryed Egg has helped an array of businesses and nonprofits sharpen their approach to retaining clients, improving their relationships and strengthening their bottom lines in the process. Here are some ways we help make client relationships endure.
Start with service
How do you build a relationship with a new client? You do everything you can to help them. Once you get them in the door, you have to deliver them a great experience, whether you’re a sandwich shop or a dentist or a nonprofit. You have to provide top-tier service customized to their specific needs that keeps them coming back. That means providing them whatever they expected when they signed up -- and then some. They should be surprised at how much value you provide to them.
Forming ties that bind
In addition to excellent service, you also need to go the extra mile to provide useful information and to stay in front of your clients -- both new and old -- in a variety of ways to establish yourself as a trusted partner and resource provider. That can mean using tools such as emails or newsletters to provide insight that will be valuable to them, such as commentary on important industry trends or breaking news. It means automated touch points that are scheduled and consistent, so that you are never too far out of sight. Regular check-ins ensure that you keep steady tabs on your client so that you can catch issues early and resolve them swiftly. There should be no surprises. If you have a new product, service or opportunity in the works, they should be the first to know. It should be clear to them that they are always on your mind.
The importance of the first year
At Fryed Egg, we recently worked with a trade association to develop a plan to hold onto their new members. They were facing a challenge that many organizations like them face. They would get a new member, the member would stay attached for a year and feel as though they didn’t get enough out of the experience, and then leave and never look back. That first year is a crucial one. If you don’t build a good relationship right away, you might not ever get the chance to do it. New members or clients require special attention. If they don’t get it, they can get fidgety and leave for greener pastures before you’ve had a chance to build a relationship. We helped the trade association develop unique touch points with the new members throughout the year, so that they would feel connected and see the value the association could provide them. Renewals skyrocketed.
A clear plan
Retention is not about great improvisation or jotting down some ideas on a post-it note. You need a detailed plan that you can follow every step of the way. We build strategies with our clients around engagement, and we make them work. Every organization is unique, and we collaborate with them to build a plan that makes the most sense for their clients. Together, we determine what their touch points should look like and how frequently they should be made to ensure that they stay in front of their clients and maintain meaningful relationships with them -- relationships that will make both sides happy.
Fryed Egg can tailor a retention plan for your organization that will fit your particular needs and clients. We can build a plan out and manage it for you or pass along the reins to you to run yourself. If you want to learn more about how Fryed Egg can help, contact us at (813) 478-0494 or [email protected] or visit www.FryedEgg.com.