It’s cheaper, easier, and more effective to retain current clients than it is to acquire new ones.
According to Lee Resource Inc., attracting new clients costs your company 5 times more than keeping an existing client. Also, according to Bain and Co., a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%.
It’s simple: client churn is bad. Happy clients lead to the long term success of your business.
Here are the top 10 ways I’ve found to keep your clients happy, and equally important—on board.
10. Show Some Empathy!
If you’re in the business of client services, you likely already have a natural knack for empathy. Clients are human too. They get stressed, are on tight deadlines and can have bad days just like the rest of us.
It can be easy to get frustrated by a bug or glitch within the tool. Let them know that you’d be frustrated too if you were in their situation; then work to resolve their problem ASAP!
9. Utilize Easily Understood Language—Not Everyone is a Techie
Before I was gainfully employed by the good people of Infegy, I, like many of our clients, was a doe eyed college student. Gigabit sounded like a fictional far off planet. 404 Error seemed like a system meltdown. CRM. SaaS. Json. Xls. Xml. The list goes on. When communicating, simple is best.
8. Keep it Polite and Brief
Your clients are busy. And you are too. Keep the conversation topical, polite, and most importantly—brief!
7. Kill Your Inner Robot
Thank. You. For. Your. Support. Request. A. Team. Member. Will. Be. With. You. Shortly.
No one likes feeling like they’re communicating with a robot. Remember, it’s alright to show that you are a real person with a real personality.
Keep your email tone professional, but casual. Protip: Mimic the working conditions of your clients. Utilize a formal tone for your suit-clad clients and more relaxed tone when chatting with your t-shirt wearing tech brethren in Silicon Valley.
— Alexa Fischer (@1000WattAlexa) January 27, 2015
6. Timeliness Trumps Perfection
If it’s going to take longer than a few minutes to get an answer back to your client, send a courtesy email letting them know that you’re on it and will follow up with more info later. A canned response works wonders in these cases. A simple note acknowledging that you received their email will stifle any unnecessary panicked correspondence later too.
5. Client Support or Success? Both.
Though both are important and often used interchangeably, the two words have different meanings. Client support is a reactive role where you are providing excellent troubleshooting, advice, best practices, etc. Success, however, is a proactive position that allows you to reach out to clients before any issues arise and to reinforce your commitment to their success. Call it what you may, but I’ve found the best practice is to craft a perfect mixture of both.
4. Talk it Out
Sometimes it can be aggravating to troubleshoot an issue over email. Offering to call the client directly can benefit you both. You save time and the repetitive emailing back and forth. They get their issue knocked out promptly and with a personal touch.
3. Keep Difficult Clients Zen Using the CARP Method
Control. The key in reasserting control is to behave in ways that send the subtle sub message “your techniques (attempts to cause you to become defensive, angry, or off-balance) are not going to work on me”.
Acknowledge. It is important that the angry person see that you understand his/her emotional state and the situation. Remember the empathy we mentioned above?
Refocus. Refocusing involves making the transition from dealing with the emotions to dealing with the actual problem.
Problem Solve. Problem-solving involves actions like getting and giving information, suggesting possibilities and appearing helpful, offering choices and following through until the issue has been resolved.
2. Shop Around for the Best Support Software Fit
Using what I call the “Goldilocks” method, we were able to find a support solution that best fit our needs. Salesforce Desk was tailored to a firm much larger than Infegy, whereas basic email support wasn’t nearly robust enough for our needs.
Currently, we are halfway through a trial with Groovehq and have been pleased. Their support software feels like it was designed for our needs. Not too big, not too small—just right.
1. So Long Silos!
I can’t stress enough how important a great team is. Developers, salespeople, even senior managers pitch in when necessary. This attitude is contagious and allows us to continue to provide industry leading, effective client support.