If you've been successful in acquiring a large number of clients for your business, you want to keep them! A solid client base brings in a steady flow of revenue and allows you to plan for the future. However, retaining existing clients is not easy - it requires hard work, attention to detail, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to keep the clients happy.
Here are seven tips for keeping your clients happy.
1. Anticipate problems in the relationship. Don't wait for little issues to become major impediments. If you become aware of a possible concern, investigate it and then do whatever is necessary to resolve the issue. For instance, if your client is angry about a late delivery of supplies, make some phone calls to remedy the situation and then inform the client that it won't happen again.
2. Show the personal touch. Computerization and online connectivity mean that most business processes can now proceed without human intervention. However, you should never allow your client's needs to be met solely by automated processes. Send a friendly email or make a phone call periodically to say hello and find out how your client is doing. This reaffirms the relationship and gives your client the opportunity to express concerns or ask questions.
3. Provide extra value. Always be looking for opportunities to add extra value to the transaction. For example, let the client know if there is a new and improved product that will be replacing an existing product, and if possible offer the client the option of upgrading at no extra charge.
4. Go to bat for your client. Be willing to fight for your client within your organization. For example, if the client is experiencing a business downturn and needs an extension on a deadline for an invoice payment, ask your manager to consider the request favorably.
5. Admit mistakes. If you failed to follow through on something you promised to do ... or if you gave your client bad advice about which product to order, admit your mistake and apologize. If possible, make amends in some tangible way.
6. Adapt to the client's routine. Learn the client's normal schedule and routine and adapt accordingly, where possible. For instance, if you know the client is very busy midweek but then catches up on phone calls and emails on Friday afternoon, call him on Friday rather than bothering him when he's busy.
7. Be a reference source. Demonstrate to the client that you're happy to answer any business-related questions, not only about your products and services but also about industry trends and related products. If the client is comfortable calling you for extra information on any topic related to your main business, you're likely to retain his orders.
Keeping clients happy is a never-ending challenge. If you can do so, your business will probably be successful over the long term. These tips will help you to hold onto your precious clients!