Retaining customers isn’t easy in a volatile economy, especially during a worldwide pandemic that sees periodic lockdowns. These are major industry and productivity interruptions and people don’t always have the budget to stay committed to their operating expenses. So how can you put your business onto your clients’ Do-Not-Cancel list? asks Sonia Gibson, Director at Accounting Heart Chartered Accountants.
How can you protect yourself from being a dispensable expense and become a valued necessity? It’s a question many businesses are asking as the pandemic continues.
Here are my top three tips for retaining clients
Work with your clients, not just for them
Retaining customers is about building relationships and seeking to do more than simply delivering your service, you need to solve a problem in a broader sense. Building a relationship with your clients is about more than just “how was your weekend” and small talk, it’s about understanding what they struggle with and using your expertise to bring tangible and significant relief.
You can achieve this by making it easier for your clients to understand what you can do for them. In the case of an accountant, an accountant can educate business owners and make them financially literate rather than simply handling it and then marking the task as done. This creates the opportunity for a far more holistic approach to solving the problems within that business. When you achieve this, your service becomes indispensable to your clients and you’ve achieved client retention.
Cultivate joy in the workplace (it’s so much more than just team building)
While the above advice is far more involved than it sounds, it also requires you to have a high-functioning team that is committed to excellence.
If you believe a high functioning team is an elusive concept, think again. Your company structure dictates the joy your team will experience when they’re busy with their work. The joy they feel will influence how giving they are of their excellence.
As the team leader, you can create structures that care for your employees. Examples include flexible work schedules so that those with caregiver roles outside of work can give their best, not worrying that they’re neglecting their other obligations. Autonomy and trust in the workplace are also vital. Talk to your team and ask them what you can do to make their lives simpler or easier so that they can feel happier and freer to give their all at work. A happy team will keep your clients in the business.
Ask yourself honestly: What social issues are within your grasp to fix?
Looking at bigger issues in the world, like gender equality in the workplace can leave you feeling that there is much to be done, and you would be right. You can improve your customer retention rates by making your clients feel like they’re supporting a business that’s part of positive change for the world. In essence, it makes the customers feel like they’re doing good through you.
Create campaigns within your brand or build structures and policies that support the change you wish to see in the world. If you support gender equality, make sure there’s no wage gap in your company and introduce flexible workplace policies.
If you believe in combating climate change, organise clean-ups and invite your clients to join you for a cleanup and a barbeque as a fun charitable event. Make it big and make it align with your values.
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