You work hard to win clients and build relationships, and you spend a lot of time and resources on marketing and selling to them. Why, after all of your efforts, do so many clients slip through the cracks? All of a sudden—Poof!—they’re gone. Where did they go? Why did they go?
Clients go for a number of reasons. Sometimes, it’s because of a big blunder or mistake you’ve made, but more often, it’s your reaction or non-reaction to the blunder that makes them seek out another partner or solution. Even more often, they leave because of a series of small blunders: a phone call that didn’t get returned, an e-mail that went unanswered, a question or concern that didn’t get properly addressed, expectations that weren’t properly set and disappointments that occurred as a result; in other words, a pileup of missteps brought on by lackluster project management and spotty customer service.
Everyone has had a poor customer experience. If you’ve ever purchased anything with which you weren’t completely satisfied, whether it was a Cloud computing solution or something as simple as a new microwave, you’ve probably had the experience of calling your provider’s customer service department only to be met with a complicated routing process—a series of recorded messages, beeps, holds, transfers and hang-ups—and, if you’re lucky, of eventually reaching a living, breathing someone who either attempts to solve your problem but doesn’t or who tells you your problem can’t be solved. Even "submit a ticket" programs aren’t foolproof. Tickets get missed, systems go down, and the people working on the tickets can get transferred or change jobs before the tickets they were working on have been fully addressed.
What can you do to keep clients? One obvious answer is that you can improve your project management and customer service processes. Making improvements in these areas, however, is not enough. Even if you’re ultra-organized and provide above average customer service, you still need to nurture your clients. More to the point, you need to nurture your clients just as much and as often as you nurture your leads or prospective clients. Client nurturing is key when it comes to client retention.
How should you nurture your clients?
Sending out a quarterly e-newsletter once a month, solely relying on your salespeople to keep relationships going, or only reaching out to clients when you have a special discount or product to promote, won’t do the trick. A solid client retention strategy should include a plan for reaching out to clients at least once every 30 days. Why? If you don’t put your company’s name in front of your clients regularly, you run the risk of being forgotten and opening up space for your competitors. Reaching out consistently strengthens relationships and builds trust.
Some clients may be interested in reading your e-newsletters. Others may be more interested in your company blog or in downloading a white paper. Others may be more impressed by published trade magazine articles written by your executives, or in your podcasts and webinars. Being diverse when it comes to message delivery is important because people are diverse. What interests one client may not interest another. Reaching out in a variety of ways and through different mediums will help you reach a wider audience and retain more clients.
Want more information on how to implement a client retention and content marketing strategy? Take Vendere Partners' content marketing survey today.Sean O'Neil