It’s time for some tough love. We can always find a reason to blame the client when they decide to leave. They were looking to pay as little as possible, they had unreasonable expectations etc. – we’ve used them all.
Here’s the tough love: when it comes to client retention, it’s usually our fault when they walk out the door. It’s most likely something completely within our control that we neglected or simply did not address.
Here’s what I mean:
- Lack of communication: Communication is more than establishing deadlines and asking for information. It’s about keeping the client in the loop about progress and process, and being patient and helpful in answering their questions. Clients are more sophisticated today. Don’t take that for granted.
- Indifference: How do you feel when you enter a restaurant and are ignored by the host or hostess? Or when you call for service and are placed on hold indefinitely? It’s not the wait that bothers most people – it’s the indifference. I am paying for this service and you don’t seem to care. Everyone wants to feel important. Do you go out of your way to make your clients feel this way?
- Commoditization: Have your services become commoditized in the mind of your clients? Do you clients fail to perceive the value in what you do? If clients don’t see the value then their primary concern is getting the work done at the lowest cost.
- Behind the times: This is another perception issue. Clients understand and use technology every day. If you look like you are behind the times from a technology perspective – manual efforts, paper pushing – it is certain to raise questions.
Notice what’s not on this list? Price. Most clients won’t leave over price if they are working with a valued and cherished partner. It may be given as the excuse – but it is not the reason.