- Carl Maerz is a co-founder of Rocket Referrals.
If you want your clients to stick around you should be communicating with them regularly. And if you want this communication to have a positive impact it needs to be meaningful, timely, and authentic. Sending bcc’d emails to your client list doesn’t do much to make them feel loved. Likewise, not returning phone calls or emails is equally as detrimental to client retention. For businesses to be great communicators they must be both reactive, and proactive in their approach.
Being reactive in your communication is as simple as getting back to clients in a timely manner. One of the top complaints we found by analyzing the negative feedback of clients of service-based companies was the lack of returned phone calls. There is perhaps no faster way of showing your clients you don’t care much about your relationship.
Communicating proactively with your clients means that you are reaching out to them regularly with meaningful content on your own accord. This communication needs to be personalized, valued by the client, and happen over time. Below are a few examples of how to proactively reach out to your clients as to eliminate perceived indifference, and aid in client retention.
In addition to providing social proof, collecting written testimonials is a very effective way of increasing client retention. After a customer makes the commitment to promote you to others it becomes a part of their self-image. In our experience, we’ve found that customers who’ve put a stake in the ground and said “This business is great and here’s why” are far less likely to leave and buy from another company.
The nerdy, psychological term for this is cognitive dissonance: the mental stress a person feels when they are confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. In other words, it’s easier when a customer has said “I like this company” to stick with it through thick and thin.
Newsletters can be an effective tool to increase client retention, if they’re implemented correctly. Essentially, a newsletter is intended to provide your clients with valuable information regarding your business, industry, and community. This is an excellent opportunity to both humanize your company while also establishing yourself as an authority within your industry.
However, many companies implement newsletters incorrectly, and they backfire by making the clients feel more disconnected than before. This happens when companies include content that is either unoriginal, irrelevant, or both. We call this the copy and paste syndrome. Curating information across the internet and passing it along to your clients is one thing. But if you didn’t write it, don’t make it look as if you did. Your clients will be able to easily spot this ruse and lose some trust in the process.
There are several services available that can help you put together templates to work off of. We recommend MailChimp, as it’s quick, easy, and affordable. Be sure to include content about your business, your community, and information that your clients will find helpful. Be sure to keep regular intervals between each newsletter. We recommend sending a newsletter once a month, to keep your business top of mind, but not to annoy.
Regular communication with clients, simply for the purpose of following up, goes a long way to avoid turnover. This can include emails, phone calls, text messages, handwritten cards, or any combination of the bunch. Ideally you’ll want to vary the mediums you use to communicate with your clients (to keep it fresh), or stick with their preferred method.
It’s important to keep your follow-up communication personalized to the client. Unlike newsletters, you want your client to feel like you are reaching out directly to them, and only them. This can be as simple as addressing email or card to the client and including personalized and relevant content.
Accomplish this by implementing a system that can automate personalized communication based on predetermined intervals and/or triggers. For example, insurance agents benefit by reaching out to clients prior to their renewal date. This communication will have an even greater impact on client retention if it appears to be highly personalized and unexpected. That’s why we at Rocket Referrals recommend handwritten cards to be sent at unpredictable intervals, in order to enhance their authenticity.