Here’s a quick question: What is your attrition rate? For those who have not heard the term before, your attrition rate, is the rate at which you lose customers or clients, (herein called clients.)
Your client base is being actively targeted by your competitors. Your clients are receiving; mail shots, email marketing, advertising and all kinds of offers, from competitors who are desperate to win their business away from you.
Offering great customer service is essential, but if you want to keep their business, it’s also important for you to do the following:
- Do whatever you can, to try and meet as many clients as you can, as often as you can.
- Make sure you are in contact with ALL your clients, even those that you have not done any work with recently. Your great customer service will soon become just a memory and you will slip off their radar, if you do not retain regular contact.
- Pick up the phone from time to time just to see how they are. Email is great, but voice to voice contact is far, far better. It’s an immediate 2 way dialogue. I suggest never letting more than a few weeks go by without a chat, if at all possible.
- DON’T TRY TO SELL THEM ANYTHING. Just connect with them. Find out what’s happening in their world right now.
- If you can’t regularly phone every client, email them something of value (see below.)
- If you have a massive customer list, which it just too big to phone around, drop customers a line and ask for their feedback. Don’t just broadcast your news to them. Ask for their news too.
- Oh, and think before using gimmicks! A marketing guru once told his readers to send chocolate bars to their clients. He was then slammed, after a number of them lost clients, who were diabetic or overweight and thought it was a bad joke at their expense!
Develop an attrition plan
Develop a simple attrition plan, which will ensure you remember to make regular contact with your clients. In brief, you should try and do as much of it face-to-face as possible. If that’s too hard, then use the phone, if you are dealing with many hundreds or with thousands of clients, start a customer-only newsletter. Again, don’t fill it with sales pitches – that’s not good enough. They deserve better than that. Share your news and ask for their news (that’s why its called a newsletter and not a salesletter) and make them a genuine, customer only offer in each issue.
The bottom line here is that the longer you stay out of contact with a client, the less relevant you become to them. The less relevant you become, the easier it will be for your competitors to win their custom from you.
Keep in touch and show them you care.
Other than offering outstanding customer service, what are your tips for retaining your clients / customers business?