As Michael Leboeuf, an American business author, once said, “Every company’s greatest assets are its customers, because without customers, there is no company.” Small-business owners and CEOs of large corporations alike all know one thing to be true: Getting new customers is hard. Whether it was 10 years ago when the market was steady or just 2 years ago, at the height of the pandemic when many were struggling to make ends meet, finding new clients is difficult and exhausting.
But what else puts a damper on business success? Client cancellations are the bane of all businesses. It feels a bit like getting dumped and sounds like the common, “It’s not you, it’s me” excuse. Losing old clients can be devastating to your company and business growth. For this reason alone, many successful business owners, both large and small, focus their attention on churn, or their number of cancellations. It’s tough to hit growth goals without keeping track of how many clients leave. Instead of spending thousands of dollars in marketing and advertising, use that money to retain current clientele and reduce the churn.
You’ve likely heard the age-old saying, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” Your current customers and clients are much more valuable than a new, single-transaction customer. According to the Harvard Business Review, it costs between 5%–25% more money to find a new client than to keep the loyal ones you already have. Thus, keeping your current clients happy is one of the most important goals for successful business owners. Here are some ways to help to retain your current customers.
Track Customer Satisfaction.
In an ever-changing market, the needs of your customers are constantly shifting. Paying attention and actually taking the time to address complaints from any unhappy clients helps to pinpoint the weak points in your strategy. And this is where the churn rate comes into play. If churn numbers are low, something is working, and if churn numbers are high, something needs to be changed. Your customers sometimes have better insight than other business owners and professionals.
In a Bain & Company study, 60%–80% of clients who are satisfied with the service they received from a business will not return for repeat business. Oftentimes, this is linked to a breakdown in connection after the initial date of service or sale. To stay top of mind and turn one-time clients into loyal customers, consider staying connected with your clients via newsletters, emails, texting, and check-in phone calls. The goal is to develop a personal connection with each individual client to defeat competing clients and overcome the disconnect gap.
Every Interaction Matters.
With the hustle and bustle of everyone’s daily lives, we all have competing priorities. However, just because we may have 5 different meetings throughout our day doesn’t mean one is less important than the other. The same is true with your clients: Each interaction you have with your current clients is meaningful. If one interaction falls through the cracks, it’s a missed opportunity. Every time you get on the phone with your clients, shoot them an email, or even send them an automated text, but be sure it is personal and valuable.
Do you know your churn rates? Are you currently checking in with your clients? Is there value in your conversation? These are the questions you want to be asking yourself. To achieve real and sustainable company growth, you must accept the brutal fact that gaining new customers is hard. However, if you rely on these tips and find different ways to retain your current client base, your success will be much greater.