2020 has been a scary year for people in sales roles. You have had to adjust to working remotely close to, if not, full-time. Deals are tougher to close via video sales calls. And your current clients are tightening their purse strings and cutting expenses wherever they can until the economy turns around. Could your product or service be the next cut? Not if you update your client retention strategy, says Mehdi Hussen, writing for HubSpot.
Client Retention in the Age of COVID-19
Keep Clients Engaged
Whenever you get a new client, hopefully you sign them up for some sort of training. How else are they going to learn how to make the most of your product or service? In the beginning stages of a business relationship, staying engaged with your customers is easy. You can send them weekly training videos, they have a ton of questions for you, etc. Once the dust begins to settle, though, engagement tends to lessen. And that’s when client retention is at risk.
You may be thinking that keeping low on the radar screen is an easy way to not be a part of your client’s budget cuts. Out of sight out of mind, right? Wrong. If you’re not constantly providing value to your clients, why should they keep doing business with you instead of your competitors? They may be more engaging. When it comes to engaging emails, Hussens says that, “Your goal should be to deliver attention-grabbing, quality content that offers value in one form or another.” This could be upcoming webinars, your latest white paper, anything that will provide new and relevant information for your clients. Your clients need to know you’re still there for them, especially throughout this crisis. Don’t let them down.
Be Flexible with Payments
Few companies have managed to evade the financial strain of 2020. Your client’s business has almost definitely been impacted in significant and negative ways this year. As such, they’re likely struggling financially and may not be able to make the payments they owe you. That shouldn’t be a deal breaker, though. You don’t have to lose their business. “If you’re able to,” writes Hussen, “try extending alternative payment and pricing plans that not only retain their business, but make them feel cared for and valued.” Temporary solutions such as these can have a big impact on client retention down the road. Even when they’re back to paying full price, your clients will remember what you did for them when your company was struggling as much as theirs. That kind of selflessness will inspire loyalty that will last for years to come.
Responding to your clients’ outreach as quickly as possible has always been a crucial part of customer service and retention. But sometimes you let your response fall to the back burner while finding a place for it in your day-to-day schedule. That was back when your clients weren’t on high alert; especially your newest clients. They obviously see the benefits of doing business with you. However, in times of turmoil, there will always be little seeds of doubt about whether they made the right financial decision when they selected you as a business partner. If you keep them waiting for a solution to their problems, those seeds will sprout and they’ll be looking for the first chance to abandon ship.
Don’t let that happen to your business relationships. Hussen recommends setting up both desktop and mobile notifications for whenever you receive a new message from your clients. That way, no matter where you are, you will be able to respond to your clients immediately, boosting your client retention odds.
Build Your Reviews and References
Client retention creates a steady stream of revenue in multiple ways. The obvious result is the regular checks you receive for the continued use of your product or service. But remember how powerful reviews and recommendations are. Few consumers make new purchases without checking out the reviews first. A good amount of positive reviews do wonders in swaying potential clients’ opinions and confidence.
Strike while the iron is hot. If you’ve just had a positive interaction with your client, ask them to write a review of your company, product, or service online. The more positive reviews from a variety of sources the better. And don’t forget that negative reviews aren’t always a bad thing either. You can still use them to prove your worth. Whenever you get a negative review, reply to it. Apologize for whatever went wrong and offer a way to make it right. When potential customers see that you’re proactive with your clients in both good times and bad, they’ll know they can trust you no matter what. And the same goes for your current clients. Boost your client retention (and chances of gaining new clients) by always being proactive.
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