Client retention is critical in a professional services environment. A challenge for professional services firms is staying loyal to your clients, when they may not be loyal to you.
Just this past weekend, my furnace stopped working and the house registered 60 degrees. I called my local HVAC team and within minutes I was able to speak to a customer service person and within two hours they were at my house.
During the time of my initial call and the completion of the project, I was called by the owner to update me on where the technician was and this calmed my nerves. I have been retained as a client.
This story gives us an example of the importance of client service. Their company does not exist, if more people like me (clients) are not there. This is the beauty of the free market. For us in professional services, the true equity exists because of your clients and the service you provide. Your employees are there only because there is a client to serve.
To retain your clients consider these Tips below:
Tip #1: Your clients are the only true and lasting equity you have. This means that your loyalty to them must exceed the unstated expectation you have on them to stay loyal to you. Gone are the days in business, where the phrase: “I have known this guy for 30 years and I will always be with him.” This is sorta true and sorta not.
Staying loyal to your clients includes consistent value creation, fee substantiation and additional services. The relationship is at the foundation of this and cannot be the only thing. Just because you have had this client for years does not guarantee future loyalty.
You are at risk if you are the only person that is connected to your client. Your staff needs to be a part of that connection too and must be passionate about your clients.
What happens if you are ill? Do you create a point of failure for your business or have your created a strong hinge within your team to make sure your client is provided for?
Tip #2: To retain your client, don’t just view your staff as a leverage point for you to get stuff done, but as a place of deep connection with your customer. You can instill a great love for your clients in your administrative staff too. Don’t assume that just because you love your clients and because you own the relationship that they will automatically catch that same passion. Do your part and make the connection.
Have you ever brought one of your administrative staff to the client meeting? Have you coached them to pick up the phone vs. just emailing?
Start your next meeting with “client wins” and let the conversation flow from there. Your staff may even teach you Mr. or Mrs. Advisor on the keys to client retention.
Tip #3: Consider the delivery and communication aspects of client service. Communication provides continual updates to the client on where they are at in the service process. Delivery includes everything from electronic materials, emails, forms and presentations. One without the other puts you at risk for having a transaction vs. a loyal and long lasting customer.
Client retention is about consistently adding value, communicating well and delivering all that you promise. The difference between a transactional client and a loyal client could lie in your ability to connect your staff to your client.
All my HVAC system needed was a new ignition system, which was $85. They did not make much on me, but I am a lasting annuity for them long into the future. My business creates lasting equity for their business and creates a strong referral source for their future.
What about you? Will you retain your clients or view them as a transaction?