By Andy Roe
Obviously all of us in business strive to bring in more clients, to sell more of our services to more people. However, the foundation of growth is keeping the clients you already have and it’s important not to overlook. If you’re putting so much effort into new client outreach that you’re bleeding the ones you’ve already sold, you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face.
To build a business that’s set to make it over the long haul, you want those customers that start with you to stick with you. How do you do it?
There’s a few techniques that I’ve seen be effective year after year. If you’re thorough and diligent with current customers, you’ll find not only your retention numbers will go up, but due to referrals and the growth of your reputation, you’ll see new client gains at the same time.
Here’s three ways to focus your retention efforts:
- Get feedback early and often. Be it surveys, follow-up calls or an extended email campaign, you want to stay in touch with your customers. Not only to let them know that you still appreciate their business, but that you want to hear what you’re doing right and what you can improve. Small tweaks based on real live feedback can make a big difference in the overall customer experience.
- Give them something for free. They’ve shown you good faith by buying into your product or service. Now it’s your turn to give a little something back. Maybe it’s a gift card or a discount on their current service. Yes, as a small business, you have to watch carefully. But consider how much good will you’ll get in return by offering them a small reward for their loyalty.
- Show you appreciate long-term clients and customers. We’ve all had that unfortunate experience on the phone with a service provider that doesn’t seem to care that you’ve been with them for many years. It’s a bad feeling and a good way for a business to lose some of their most dependable customers. Make sure you reach out to long-term clients, subscribers and the like to let them know they’re not just a number on your balance sheet.
Client retention is usually not that hard – getting people to buy in the first time is usually the tougher task. But with the countless demands that beg of your time, it can be easily forgotten. Make a regular practice of these simple ideas and you’ll find a little goes a long way.
Andy Roe is the General Manager of SurePayroll, Inc., a Paychex Company. SurePayroll is the trusted provider of easy online payroll services to small businesses nationwide. SurePayroll compiles data from small businesses nationwide through its Small Business Scorecard optimism survey, and exclusively reflects the trends affecting the nation’s “micro businesses” — those with1-10 employees. You can follow Andy on Twitter @AndrewSRoe.