How to Master the Art of Client Retention

Client retention is probably one of the most crucial aspects to master when in business. In a world where clients often feel like a number, hearing and treating clients as a valued partner in business, is a non-negotiable.

It is imperative therefore to pay more than lip service to clients. Business is about people. Therefore client retention needs to be one of your top five key performance indicators in your business.

So what are clients looking for these days?

A “WOW” experience

Client loyalty is the result of taking active care of your clients. Professionals such a doctors, lawyers and accountants, etc often think their expertise is sufficient to retain clients. This is no longer the case.

Today’s clients look for so much more when it comes to doing business.  They want a WOW experience.  They want to feel a connection with the person with whom they are doing business. So you need to relate to the client as a person, not just as someone who pays you for your services.

A client complained about being put in a cubicle where a specialist went from one cubicle to the next consulting with patients. The client felt like a number. It was clear to him that the doctor was not the slight bit interested in connecting with him. He complained to the doctor about feeling that he was part of a production line.

The doctor failed to get the message. The client was unhappy as he was paying the doctor a high fee and yet received minimal individual attention.

Pointers for providing a “WOW” experience

You want clients to walk away feeling that they are treated as unique individuals. So treat them in a special way:

  • Build up a relationship with your client. Find out more about them as a person: what are their expectations, what is important to them, what really frustrates them, etc.
  • Find out exactly what they want, what is their desired end result. How will you know if they are happy with the products or services you provide?
  • Clarify expectations regarding the process of interacting with them: How would they like you to communicate with them? How often? In what format: a telephone call or per email or sms?
  • How would they like you to raise problems or issues impacting on service delivery?
  • Talk about your experiences e.g. if you are a lawyer and feel that your role is governed more by the law, talk your client upfront about dilemmas you have experienced with other clients. Reach agreement on how to handle aspects affecting the relationship or service delivery.
  • Instead of just focussing on providing technical expertise ensure that you regularly check the process with our clients. Are they are satisfied with progress or not? What would they like to see done differently?
  • Clarify what you will deliver and at what cost. Make sure that the client agrees the cost before you go ahead.
  • When dealing with lawyers clients are often very unhappy about the open endedness of charges. Manage this process very carefully with clients otherwise they may feel “ripped off”. Ensure that your client feels they are getting value for money.

A client recently found himself having to sign a form at his vet that he consents to carrying the costs of any interventions.  He was extremely unhappy as there was no indication in the form that the vet needs to consult with the client prior to any intervention. It was a very one sided form. Needless to say this made the client consider going to another vet in future.

Client loyalty needs to be earned in business these days. So focus on building strong rapport with your clients and consult with them on an on-going basis. Err by consulting with them continuously e.g. their requirements, challenges from your side, alternative solutions, all cost implications.

Your aim is to have all your clients as ambassadors, people who sell your business to their friends. You want to leave a positive mark on your clients.

How do your current clients view your services? Business coaching can definitely help you increase client loyalty.


Posted in Business, Client retention.