Ten Tips for Long-Term Client Retention | Operations > Customer Relations from AllBusiness.com
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Ten Tips for Long-Term Client Retention

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Attracting and retaining clients is essential to the success of any business. Long-term clients are likely to feel more satisfied, are more likely to refer others, and are more likely to purchase additional products and services from you. Here are 10 solid strategies for retaining your long-term customers and making sure your new customers stick around.

1. Market to your existing clients. Your current customers are already doing business with you and are more likely to buy from you again. Focus most of your time, efforts, and resources on better serving your current clients. Go deeper instead of wider.

2. Be consistent in your approach and interactions. Treat your clients with honesty, humor, and respect -- and maintain this over time. If you are consistent with them over time, they will see you as dependable, credible, and trustworthy.

3. Follow through on your commitments. If you promise to send information or to follow up, do it. You will gain loyalty and trust by always doing what you say you will do. Make sure to avoid the Top 10 Customer Service Mistakes.

4. Connect with your customers. Find out about their lives, their hopes, goals, and desired outcomes. Ask questions that encourage a deeper sense of shared understanding. The greater the level of connection, the greater the mutual satisfaction.

5. Have fun. It's easy to get caught up in goals, outcomes, deliverables. Of course these are important, but clients also want to work with people who enjoy what they do. The more fun you can have while providing strong outcomes, the longer your clients will stay.

6. Position yourself as a resource for life. Let your customers know you will be around long after the sale. Let them know they can come back whenever they need. This can help differentiate your company from your competitors, who may just be in it for the short term.

7. Ask for feedback and input. At some point in the working relationship, solicit feedback. Ask your clients how they feel about working with you and ask if they have suggestions for how the working relationship or outcomes can be improved. Asking for their ideas shows that you care about their opinions and value their contributions.

8. Share resources. Do you know of a good book that your clients might benefit from reading? Tell them about it. Do you have the name of someone who could help a client move ahead on a business plan? Tell them about it. Sharing resources is a terrific way to build loyalty and satisfaction.

9. Reward them for staying on. Consider implementing a loyalty program, where your long-term clients are rewarded for staying on. You might offer them gifts, products, or services for a certain level of ongoing participation with your business.

10. Keep learning. The more you focus on gaining new knowledge, new skills, and new experiences, the more you have to offer your clients. The more you have to offer, the more they will benefit. The more they benefit, the longer they stay. Keep focused on your own professional growth and learning. Both you and your clients will benefit. Read more in our 60-Second Guide to Establishing Great Customer Service.

Dr. Rachna D. Jain is a sales and marketing consultant and the author of "177 Low Cost Ideas to Successfully Market Your Professional Service Business." To learn how you can make more money and have more fun in your business, please visit SalesAndMarketingCoach.com.

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