Customer retention and customer relationship management

According to the Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits anything from 25-95%.   Also repeat customers, on average, spend 67% more (Source: Bain & Company)

So it’s pretty evident that keeping clients is important! One of the key ways of achieving this is to provide exceptional client and account management.  I never understood the utilities or mobile phone business model of being good at winning new customers (through great offers and deals) but making next to no effort to keep customers!  This seems crazy to me, especially in super-competitive marketplaces.  So whatever type of business you run, don’t follow their lead!

Whatever your strategies are you need to attract new customers AND keep (and grow) existing ones. Having run my own agency and then spent the last 10 years coaching all types of agencies and service-based businesses, I know that getting a good level of client and account management, whilst also ensuring you do not massively over service, is the key to developing a stable and growing business. Yet many staff do not know how to effectively manage clients on a day to day basis as well as taking a strategic view of clients to ensure growth and retention.

Some of the key points I make to my clients:

  • Train your staff on how to be a great client manager – don’t assume they naturally will be!
  • Build a great relationship and empathy with your clients via regular communications and frequent face to face meetings (where possible)
  • Make sure you have a clear way of measuring what you do for your client and communicate this to them
  • If they change the goalposts then be willing to discuss the implications/delays rather than just ‘sucking it up’
  • Be clear to your clients when you over-service them, so you can potentially charge them for the additional work
  • Build a partnership relationship rather than a customer/supplier one
  • Create detailed plans (to use both internally and with the client)
  • Spend time away from the client and monthly work, developing your long term strategy for retention and growth of your key accounts

Since this is such a big topic I have distilled my thinking into my top 15 tips and if you would like a copy of this free document, you can download it here.

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