Client retention is much more complex than client acquisition. Many companies overclaim their offer to get more clients on the table. However, this approach is entirely unsustainable.
Loyal clients are an important marketing source; they can talk positively about your services to other people, inspiring potential clients to trust your brand. However, this can also backfire if you fail to keep up with your promises. In short, keeping up strong client relations is essential to building a solid brand image for your target audience.
However, we understand that humans are behind all businesses, and we are bound to make mistakes sometimes, but it is crucial to understand where you and your team can improve and do better next time.
In this article, we will first identify the reasons why your client might be leaving, and in the second half, we will discuss seven effective strategies to win them back.
Understand Why Your Client Left
1. Lack of Personal Touch
We have evolved from the times when potential clients had only limited choices for service-providers, meaning the company was king. But now, the market has inclined towards clients’ choices. They have seemingly infinite options that give them the power to shop around, which is where personalization comes in clutch. Giving a personalized interaction experience will encourage wavering clients to be loyal to your brand.
You need to understand that your clients are not just a resource to make money. While interacting with your staff, they should feel important and valuable. You need to offer them value-integrated services which will hopefully encourage them to re-purchase the service and boost client relations.
To package a value-integrated service, you must identify your client’s needs and develop an offer that solves their problems. Take notes of a client’s activities on your platform and what they require the most. And then present the offer in a personalized way to them.
2. Outdated Services
Modern technology is evolving, and so is your audience. You cannot offer them services that are becoming obsolete. Regular upgrades to your services makes it less likely that your clients will start looking for other options. For instance, regularly analyse the current trends of your industry to understand the needs of the time, and change your business strategy accordingly. This will give you newer opportunities to explore, to be relevant in the industry. The market is filled with unique options that might begin to look much more appealing than a service that has lost its finger on the pulse of change.
3. Lack of Multiple Channels of Communication
The market is filled with clients of different age groups that prefer different communication channels. For instance, an older generation might favour a phone call and having a live conversation. In contrast, millennials and Gen Z are more inclined to using social media and texting.
This difference in opinion creates a demand for omnichannel communication methods to ensure you connect with everyone in your audience. People want to purchase services from companies that can easily be communicated with, using channels that are convenient for them.
4. Misleading Offers
Businesses mainly focus on acquiring new clients even when it costs more than retaining the older ones. To do this, they often overstep and offer features that do not resonate with their brand. Most clients find out about services through companies’ online marketing, where lucrative offers may be posted in hopes that it gets them many leads.
However, with regular use of your actual services, your clients will likely start to realize that the offers that lured them in are not what they’re inevitably receiving. It takes years of hard work to gain a client’s trust, and only a few misguided ads to destroy it. Your offer must only contain factual promises that will accurately help clients realize whether your service is viable for them or not.
5. No Regard for Client Satisfaction
Many businesses treat their clients as a commodity. They focus more on their immediate monetary benefits than offering value-integrated services. This quickly leads to dissatisfaction among clients, and who often end up quitting your service in favour of another.
As well, some companies only interact with their clients when they are about to make a purchase. Their primary goal is to influence them to invest in their service. And, when this onboarding period ends, they are back to not answering clients’ calls nor registering any complaints. Now, this behavior might fetch companies profit in the short term. But if you are to build a successful business in the long run, client satisfaction is the main priority.
6. Too Much Emphasis on Sales
Having a sales-oriented approach is impressive, but overdoing it might become annoying. You cannot always talk about numbers and new offerings and expect your clients to be receptive.
Multiple businesses focus on upscaling their services as soon as people purchase the previous one. Clients prefer brands with a value-integrated approach rather than salespeople whose blatant purpose is to earn more money.
So, when clients interact with your brand, try to answer their queries without using a primarily sales-oriented approach. Your motive should be to genuinely help your client and assist in solving their problems. Only upscale when you think they are happy with your services and your brand can offer them a more well-fitting program, and not just because you want some extra sales.
7. Inability to Stand Out against Competitors
The market is filled with highly-lucrative companies that come out with amazing services each day. So, having a laid-back approach towards your competitors is not going to work.
To stand out, you can try the following tactics that will surely help your business better compete with other brands:
Create internal battlecards
Just like the name suggests, battle cards help sales reps initiate a fruitful conversation with clients. These contain answers to the most asked questions that clients usually have before closing the deal. While an ideal sales battle card can have a lot of information, there are some elements that it must have:
- Information about the service and your company: Sales executives are ambassadors of the company, and they are expected to know everything about it. Moreover, at any point they could be asked about the specifics on what services are offered, which is where a battlecard can definitely come in handy.
- USPs: The unique selling point gives clients a reason to choose your services over others. Think about the aspects of your service that your competitors cannot emulate and make sure it’s on the battlecard.
- Use cases relevant to the client: Clients love to hear examples of how your service is designed to solve a problem that is similar to their actual concern. Use cases tell them how you can effectively help.
- Benefits for clients: Sales is less about selling the service and more about selling its benefits. If your clients are not fully aware about the benefits, the sale is not going in the right direction. Benefits must be included in the battlecard.
- Real-life success stories: Nothing satiates clients more than knowing how you helped solve a real-life problem for another client.
Know everything about your competitors
Before your business can beat them, you must possess all the crucial information necessary to identify their secret sauce. This will give you a clear picture of where your brand is lacking and how you can improve it.
Learn, unlearn, and relearn
Business trends can shift overnight. Hence, keeping your business updated is vital. Try adopting the latest techniques that sets your business apart from your competitors. For example, during the current pandemic, many clients may prefer organizations that are concerned about their team health and environment. So, you can advertise that you have a remote-friendly and environment-friendly work culture, and use that to further brand your business.
Your clients are looking for services that they feel are worth the money, or businesses where they feel their voices are heard. Market competition is normal, but inability to go head to head with your competitors will be harmful to your business.
8. Disregard for Client Feedback
People are reluctant to give negative feedback to your face but will readily share their experience with other potential clients. And we as humans tend to trust the experiences of other people.
Word of mouth is one of the most extensive and effective marketing campaigns which cannot be bought. You need to take regular feedback from your clients to ensure that they are happy and are willing to continue their collaboration with your company. Incorporating suggestions from your clients will help them feel that they are important to you, and that their thoughts matter.
9. Lack of Client Engagement
When a client purchases your service, that is not the end of the relationship but just the beginning. You need to keep them engaged. Your clients should feel that what they are receiving is worth as much, if not more than what they paid for it.
You can do this by offering your clients loyalty programs to persuade them to continue choosing your services. These are some of the benefits that brands usually give to their clients:
- Free value-based gifts: While onboarding new clients or throughout the service plan, you can offer them bonuses, including pdfs, e-books, audiobooks etc., to make them feel connected to your brand. Or, consider offering free consultation for the first month or so.
- Tier rewards: You can create a loyalty ladder which can include various smaller purchases that a client can make to get a certain reward. It could be something like priority service or a half-hour of consultation for free.
Strategies to Win Back Your Lost Clients
1. Make The Conversation Easy
We tend to add a lot of CTAs on our websites, emails, social media, and other client acquisition channels. Sometimes due to the presence of many CTAs, clients get overwhelmed and often get confused about what they should do. The key here is to build a strong communication channel for your potential clients, who are looking for ways to talk to you.
With a strong communication channel you can make two-way conversation easier. You can add a persuasive direct call widget on your website such as “Call us now” or “Tell us your problems” to encourage your clients to take the first step, however, make sure it isn’t added in a way that confuses users. This will help them realize that their voice matters to you, and you are willing to listen to them. You must also integrate multiple channels of communication to encourage clients of all age groups to convey their issues.
2. Be Prompt With Your Actions
Actions are a thousand times more effective than words. Giving big promises without taking the necessary steps to fulfill them will do no good for your business. For example, you always need to adhere to the deadlines that were mentioned to your clients.
We have seen many companies who overpromise. This might be effective in the short term but will pose big problems down the line. You must build up a team that focuses on providing real solutions to the clients’ problems and ensures that they remain satisfied.
Another major problem that clients always face with big companies is how long it takes to look into any issues that are brought up. The client often has to repeat their concern multiple times to someone at every level, which is quite overwhelming and discouraging.
Having a structured hierarchy is essential, but you need to ensure that you promptly take care of the clients’ situation before they get fed up and choose your competitor. Make a clear framework, where you ensure that the client’s complaints are identified and dealt with within 24-48 hours (as per the complexity of the complaint).
3. Tell Your Clients About Your Future Goals
Many businesses are reluctant to talk about new policies that they plan to launch. We understand that some information must be held until everything is settled and ready for launch. However, you still can ask your clients along the way about their thoughts on where your company is heading.
Regular updates and surveys will keep them engaged with your brand and help them understand the motivations behind certain moves for your business. With every email or newsletter you send to your client, try to add a personalized CTA, asking them what they think of the idea. The responses will further help you decide whether the decision was appropriate or not. Two-way communication is necessary for businesses to grow and continue connecting with their expanding audience.
4. Reward Their Loyalty
People love to feel appreciated; this encourages them to be loyal and market more of their favorite services to their families and friends.
Loyalty programs are essential to bond well with your clients. Professional services firms require an extra push to motivate clients to choose your services over others. These are some of the major loyalty programs that you can adopt to boost their retention:
- Socially Viable Program: You can inform people that part of their purchase will contribute to improving the community. For example, Zomato, a food delivery company, has launched a campaign towards a sustainable future. In this campaign, Zomato is funding many local environment projects to offset their carbon footprint. Similarly, you can also launch programs for social causes to show clients that you actually care.
- Free-perks Program: People love to get side-gifts on their investments. Businesses usually offer their clients free perks to encourage further high-end investment. You can upscale your services by attaching such bonuses in the middle range or high range plans. For example, Reliance Jio, a telecom company, offered free data and voice calls to clients who were either switching to Jio or taking on a new connection. This campaign took Jio’s success to a whole new level and even catalyzed a digital revolution. This is a great marketing strategy to stop your clients from leaving. On the flip side, your client acquisition game will get a lift too.
- Referral Program: This can attract other clients through your present clients. You can ask current clients to refer your service to others, and offer them a discount or gift if the referral lead converts. For example, StarQuick, an online platform for online grocery shopping, gave existing clients some cash back for referring StarQuick to their people. Plus, people who signed up from the referral link got great discounts on their first order. Both parties were satisfied as a result, and StarQuick saw a hike of 20% in their new monthly acquisitions. Referral programs are a great way to keep existing clients, and increase new acquisition and revenue.
5. Be Flexible on Your Offers
We understand that many companies want to focus more on attracting and retaining high-paying clients. But this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Expensive services might seem to generate more revenue; however, you need to balance all kinds of services for a business to grow. We have seen many businesses losing clients because they only offered high-end pricing. You need to be flexible in your pricing to accommodate a larger audience. However, this tactic can be industry-specific; for instance, if you own a consulting firm, breaking services into multiple tiers of unique pricing might be possible. You can analyse your competitors’ pricing and the services that you offer before incorporating this strategy.
6. Take Responsibility
Continuous improvement is essential because one bad experience with your company can make your clients leave. Improving constantly is one element that many businesses fail at. No matter how much you’ve worked on refining your service, there is always room to do better.
Being accountable for current limitations is an excellent sign that most clients appreciate.
As well, ensure that you communicate how apologetic you and your team are after learning about any unfortunate situations experienced by your clients, and let them know how you are working to fix those shortcomings.
7. Launch Win-Back Programs
Not all clients that leave can be persuaded to come back, but someone who lost interest in your company just because of one lousy experience might give you another chance. Many businesses launch regular win-back programs to keep interacting with the clients to help them realize that you still care and want them back. This can be divided into four phases:
- Understanding user interaction behavior: Before launching the program, you need to analyze the user’s previous activity. This will help you understand why they left in the first place.
- Ask them to come back: After analyzing their prior behavior, you will be in a better place to understand their likes and dislikes. You can then launch an offer that resonates with their preferences.
- Tell them you care and will do better: You need to take responsibility for your mistakes and make them believe that you will not repeat them. Strong positive affirmations are necessary to persuade clients that you genuinely want to improve.
- Personalize communication: Many businesses launch their win-back programs through email, where they send a series of emails to convince their client to come back. But, make sure that you personalize it every time. Your emails shouldn’t look like they have been sent to thousands of people at once.
Client retention shouldn’t be just a part of your business but rather one of its primary goals. There is so much competition in the outside world, and it will not take a second for a client to decide to switch to another company. You need to keep track of your clients and understand the problems they might be facing with your services. Helping to resolve their issues can instantly boost loyalty and even bring in more potential clients through word of mouth.
About the author:
Dennis Vu is the CEO and Co-founder of Ringblaze, a virtual business phone system company that helps teams to better serve their customers, anywhere.