Recruiting new customers costs five times as much as retaining current ones. Agencies are well aware of how challenging it is to find leads and nurture them into paying clients. And there’s no way to grow your business if you’re pitching new clients after every completed project. This is why it’s so vital to increase client retention year over year.
There are lots of things your agency can do to reduce client churn. Here are 4 tips you can follow to effectively increase client retention and the lifetime value of new clients:
1. Build a Personal Relationship
Building a relationship with clients is a challenge, especially if you run an agency. But it’s necessary to make a personal connection with your clients, or they’ll find it easy to dump you. Even if your client works with multiple people at your agency, assign one person as the main contact point. This person should get on calls with your client and get to know them personally and professionally. Clients should also know they can turn to this person with any questions or concerns they might have.
Clients should feel like you care about their business success, not just their money. The best way to show that you care (and in doing so increase client retention) is by asking questions about their needs and goals.
Here are some important topics to discuss with your client
- What are their short-term sales objectives? What are their long-term business goals?
- Who is their target audience?
- What is the competitive landscape like in their industry? How do they want to stand out from competitors?
- What do they hope to get out of working with you?
Building a personal relationship by asking questions also sets you up to provide exceptional customer service.
2. Set Clear Expectations
Defining client expectations at the beginning of the relationship is an important way to ensure their satisfaction down the line. You and your client should have a clear agreement on what tasks you’ll perform for them. If you keep things vague, then there’s a chance your client will want you to perform tasks outside of your job description. Setting clear expectations ensures they won’t get disappointed with your services.
The longer you work with clients, the more understanding you’ll have of the kind of tasks they want you to do. Use this knowledge to ask new clients key questions before setting your rates.
For example, a content agency could ask questions like:
- Do you want us to source screenshots and images for your content?
- Do you want us to perform keyword research and optimize for SEO?
- Do you want us to upload content to WordPress for you?
Setting clear expectations also gives you an opportunity to occasionally go above and beyond. For example, if you agree on a monthly project deadline, you can provide exceptional service by delivering early. Always meeting or exceeding expectations shows clients that you’re valuable and reliable for future work as well.
3. Adapt to Individual Client Needs
You probably have a clear process of how you like to work with your clients. When setting expectations, you can also define how you’ll communicate, rules for revision requests, etc. But if you want to keep clients happy, you should have some flexibility to adapt to individual needs.
Each client is different, and they’ll have different pain points that need to be addressed as well. When building a relationship with them, take note of any challenges they might face. Is your agency in a position to help? You can cater your service to provide a solution to these pain points before problems arise.
Incorporate client preferences into your work process wherever possible. For example, some clients might prefer to get on a quick call to discuss new projects before beginning. Others may prefer to send you a detailed outline by email. Clients may also want to use different communication or file sharing tools. Don’t force them into your box. Adapt yourself to fit into each of theirs.
4. Upsell Your Services
If you want to increase client retention and ensure that they want to work with you in the long run, you need to actively encourage them to keep buying. Here are some important strategies you can use to upsell your services to current clients:
- Keep paying attention to their needs. This is important at the beginning of your relationship and in the long run. Keep conversing with your client as you work on current projects and keep an eye out for new opportunities to add value for them. The more tasks you can handle for your client, the more reliant they become on your services. This is excellent for retention.
- Tell them about new certifications, skills and services. It’s not likely your current clients are regularly reading your service pages or marketing content. If you’ve started offering a new service they might be interested in, communicate it to them directly. You could send out a mass email to your current clients, but it’s better to tailor it to each client individually. That way you can explain how your new certification or skill would be valuable to their specific needs.
- Provide diverse services. Don’t let yourself or your agency be a one-trick pony. There are likely many related services you can offer to your clients as a package deal. For example, a content agency could create visual assets in addition to writing. Providing diverse services helps you offer value that would be difficult for clients to get elsewhere.
- Offer special discounts. This is a great way to encourage current customers to try out new services and stay on for the long run. You can offer a percentage discount for clients that sign on for an annual contract, for example.
Pay Attention to Client Churn
Always make client retention a priority to grow your agency. Gaining and keeping clients allows you to spend less time pitching and more time developing inbound strategies to secure new gigs. So pay attention to client churn and identify what factors influence people to leave. Then apply these 4 tips to maximize the value of your clients for the remainder of 2019 and beyond.