According to Forest Research, it costs five times more to find a new customer than to retain a current customers. Sometimes, small changes have a big impact on how customers perceive the quality of your service and make the difference between loyalty and high churn rates.
Here are ten ways to increase customer retention for service businesses.
1. Call your clients regularly.
Communication makes everything easier. Schedule periodical calls with your customers to share updates about how things are going and to ask how happy they are with your services on a scale from 1-10, 10 being best. If they do not give you a 10, do not ask why but ask what it would take to make it a 10. If they give you a 10, ask what they particularly appreciate.
2. Create valuable content.
Share new market insights, your opinion on the matter, and opportunities that your clients might not be aware of yet. Generating valuable content shows that you are on top of your game and improves brand awareness. Clients will also be likely to share your content or recommend your services to their connections based on publicly available content.
3. Become an authority in your field.
Your should always strive to be the best company in your market. If people see your business as a leading brand in the market, they are much more likely to stick to you. They have confidence in you because the consensus confirms that they already have one of the best providers.
4. Reply to your emails promptly.
You should always reply to your emails within 24 hours. If possible, within one hour. It is much more effective to reply saying that you received an email and that you will reply as soon as possible instead of waiting several hours and responding with a long detailed email. Quick response times show that if something important comes up you are always on top of your inbox.
5. Be decisive.
Clients hire you because you are the expert. You cannot afford to be uncertain what's best for your clients. Your confidence has to come across in your discussions. Avoid "if" in your emails or calls. Anticipate questions that require research, do the research ahead of time and have all the right answers at your fingertips.
6. Value your client's point-of-view.
Clients are experts in their field as you are in yours. You need to listen to ideas and inputs from your clients because they have worked with their own customers longer than you and can make your efforts more efficient. If you are providing a service to an end-customer, listen to their needs and personalize your service to their liking.
7. Add a personal touch.
Adding a personal touch to the relationship such as a hand written Christmas card or an email about your work anniversary. It shows that you care and enforces your position as the top of mind choice for your customers.
8. Be realistic and do not over promise.
It is better to under promise and over deliver. On average, unhappy customers share their experience with 20 people or more while satisfied customers share their experience with three or four people. One way to avoid the nay-sayers is to set realistic expectations from the get go and take on only clients that are happy with that.
9. Identifying opportunities proactively.
Don’t wait for customers to ask you what else can be done to improve performance. Come up with ideas and new strategies to proactively tell your clients how they can get more out of their budgets. This will show your customers that you care about making sure their investment in your company is helping them grow continuously over time.
10. Be clear and transparent.
State clearly what you do, how you deliver your services, and what customers can expect from you. Customer loyalty increases also based on how mistakes are being handled. Studies show that up to 70 percent of unhappy customers transform into loyal customers if the mistake has been fixed exceeding their expectations.
Customer retention is an essential part of a service business model because existing customers are easier to upsell and more profitable than constantly acquiring new customers while having a high turnover.
Related: Turning an Oops Into an Opportunity