It’s no secret that it costs about five times less to retain your current client base as it does to acquire new clients. Furthermore, retaining your existing clients can increase your profits by as much as 95 percent.
With those statistics in mind, your ability to keep clients happy and engaged can clearly save (and make) you a huge amount of money in the long run. This is particularly relevant in industries that have regular or repeat clients, like accounting or marketing.
To save on expenses and increase your revenue, it’s important to learn how to read your clients. Being able to spot the warning signs that a client is unhappy gives you a heads-up that they may be thinking about leaving your business. To improve your retention rate, keep an eye out for the following five behaviors that may mean a client is on their way out the door. In these cases, you’ll need to act fast to retain their business before they leave for good.
1. Radio Silence
Rather than deal with an awkward breakup conversation, many clients will go completely silent as they start to distance themselves. This might mean failing to respond to your emails, not picking up your calls, or even skipping meetings.
Sudden radio silence from a regular client is a huge red flag that indicates a dire need for client re-engagement. You should reach out quickly to attempt to address the client’s concerns and restore your working relationship. Simply opening up the lines of communication may be enough to restore dedication to your company. If not, you may need to offer other incentives, like discounts or package deals, to rebuild your client’s loyalty.
2. Decreased Spending
Clients who are on the fence may start to slowly test out offerings from your competitors before leaving your business altogether. This gradual replacement process allows them to confirm that other options will meet their needs just as well as your solutions do.
One way to detect this behavior is to keep an eye out for spending decreases among your regular accounts. For example, you might notice that a client who used to employ your agency to run their blog and social media accounts has suddenly stopped requesting new blog posts. Upon identifying accounts that are spending less, focus on promoting the ways in which your services can benefit those clients specifically.
3. Contract Disputes
If your client is suddenly asking a lot of questions about the terms and conditions on your contracts, it’s a sign that all may not be well in your relationship. Contract concerns may seem innocuous at first, but they can indicate a deeper problem with client commitment.
Whether the client has concerns about project scope, service value, or timelines, don’t just dismiss them with a canned response. Instead, dedicate some time to truly understanding and addressing whatever is causing their hesitation. If your client doesn’t feel that their voice is being heard, they may begin researching alternatives to your services.
4. Discount Inquiries
To be fair, everyone loves a good discount, so it’s not unreasonable for regular clients to inquire about them from time to time. However, these requests can indicate that your client is questioning the value of your products and services. If a client asks for a discount, they may also be trying to divert some of their budget toward testing new options without impacting their current operations.
While discounts can be a great tool for client retention, it’s better for them to be offered rather than requested. In cases where the client is asking for a price reduction, note the request as a potential red flag and look for other opportunities to build brand loyalty.
5. Payment Snafus
Beginning to question the value of your services can result in financial mistakes such as missed payments or canceled checks. Whether they’re intentional or not, these slip-ups suggest that your business is no longer top of mind.
Although there may be a simple explanation like a vacation or an expired credit card, check in with the client to see if there are any underlying issues. If so, allow the client to voice their concerns and strive to resolve the problem as soon as possible. Once you get your relationship with the client back on solid ground, the payment problems will likely disappear.
How to Optimize Your Customer Service to Win Clients Back
If you notice any of these warning signs, you’ll want to respond quickly with your best client retention tactics to preserve the account. Using client management software is an excellent strategy for salvaging relationships, not to mention building strong ones in the first place. With this software, your team can:
- Maintain a 360-degree view of each client’s history with your business. This allows every employee to provide superb customer service even if they’re not personally familiar with the client.
- Document any client issues by creating detailed records of every meeting, phone call, and email.
- Identify clients who have not made any recent purchases.
- Schedule reminders to follow up with clients who are waiting on updates or resolutions.
- Use past purchase data to identify other products or services that may better suit the client’s needs.
And even as you use technology to help manage your client relationships, keep in mind that your clients are people and want to be treated as such. Empathy, listening skills, and willingness to admit mistakes can all go a long way towards fostering lasting relationships with your clients.
Take a Smarter Approach to Client Retention
While client management software can do some of the heavy lifting involved in maintaining client relationships, it can’t do everything. Watching for the five warning signs above will help you determine how your clients are truly feeling about your business. In the end, it all comes down to tracking and responding to each client’s unique needs in order to keep them satisfied with the value of your services.