Is Client Retention a Real Dilemma?I recently got an opportunity to present a webinar on “Client Retention – A Dilemma” and it wasamazing to see the feedback of the attendees. I got good feedbacks and bundle of questions in my inboxthe next day. Few of them stated that they know about the good client retention strategies. However,most of them were not sure about the outcome of their strategies and were confused whether they gowith the „X‟ or „Y‟ or may be look for the „Z‟.Before presenting the webinar I too got lost for sometime, it was tough to pick a good strategy and tag itas “best” keeping in mind the business need. Client retention strategies sometimes are like choosing thebest option at random and praying that it works for you. And if that doesn‟t work, you end up seeingyourself in profound regret. However, with a planned and right approach an organization/firm canimplement a good strategy and gain trust of their clients. Though, it would be difficult to give an assurancethat the chosen approach would let that organization/firm retain their client in the long run. So, I choose tokeep apart the topic of „Client Retention – A Dilemma‟ and look for questions which many professionalsand organizations ask to themselves:a) How do I increase my profit margin in the present economical break down?b) When is the right time to look for options and dive in with a full proof plan?c) Which strategy to choose and implement to sustain my business interest?After, working on these few points I realize one can very well face these questions if he/she is thinking asper the client retention strategies. Since globalization everyone has one question in their mind, how togain clients‟ trust and earn good profit margin at the same time. This is one vision which in spite of thesize of the organization or firm (big, medium or small) everyone has. This has also given a right andsimple answer to such organizations that they can grow and make profit if they are able to retain theirclient for long. Though, client retention is not a one time process and requires a continuous approach withanalytical and research skills, a big challenge is to study the ever changing economical conditions andunderstanding the complex behaviors of clients at the same time.Provider’s Approach + Quality + Ethics + Satisfactory Service = Client RetentionWe can divide „Client Retention‟ into two parts:First, in which service provider’s course of action and image gets reflected through their overall skillsets, ethical practices, quality services and most importantly proactive approaches towards getting thework and providing best services to their clients.Secondly, it depends upon the Clients’ satisfaction and their willingness to come back again and givework to the existing provider.
Undoubtedly, every provider wants to experience the second scenario in each and every case. But, thereal problem arises when they fail to execute the planning and end up loosing their client with loss ofbusiness and more over an existing business lead. We all know that clients are served by processes andit is important to look for right process for the right client. Every now and then we see experts‟ researches,which focus on client retention‟s problems. However, the problems which come in my mind are theimplemented procedures and its poor executions by the providers. It is important to estimate and evaluateevery single step and act accordingly to build a strong bridge between providers and clients for the mutualbenefits. Providers should know about their vision and goal to attract clients and retain them for long.Here is a small process which can help them in taking the first step towards „Client Retention‟:Know Yourself: Each provider should know about their work culture, environment and the nature of theirworking. This gives an edge when they approach any client and ask for work or recommendations. Athorough knowledge of your company and work helps in building trust and strong relationship with yourpresent and future clients.Add Expertise: When you know about yourself you always look for additional expertise which you canadd to your skills. So, adding expertise in your company helps in competing with the emerging marketcompetitors. Use of innovative ideas and updated technology gives your company an extra edge andhelps you to walk hand in hand with the new emerging global market.Remove Weakness: It is always advisable to add skills and delete or remove your weakness, if you wantto grow in life. Likewise, if providers want to reach the higher level, than they have to Shift + Delete(permanent deletion) their weaknesses and have to add strength to growth and achieve success.Act Quick & Smart: Providers should keep in their minds that it is easy to know and add expertise butthe real test is their instant reaction to a LIVE scenario. So, with the above points, one should have theright approach and understanding towards the execution and working in day-to-day world.
Keep Improving: The above listed points are not a one time strategy. It is a continuous process andrequires continuous improvement to achieve the goal of creating a favorable environment for a clientfriendly approach and a step towards retaining a client.Few points on Client Retention:“A single idea, if right, saves us the labor of an infinity of experiences” - Jacques MaritainStudies have shown that approximately every organization/firm uses client retention strategy to run theirbusiness interest. However, only few are confident about their approaches and know what they are doingwill benefit their clients and in return help them adding revenue and building clients‟ trust. Few of thepoints which I thought to share with you:a.) Maintaining the Existing Database – ‘Know Your Clients’: Every provider has their own databasefor their existing clients and they work accordingly to provide satisfactory services and maintain theaccount well. However, provider should focus on segmenting that database to know everything related totheir clients (organisations or individuals). This includes the details like:i. How long is the relationship with the client?ii. In the beginning, which specific services client was looking for?iii. What additional services I am able to offer?iv. How much interest client has shown in the additional offers?v. How frequently I interact with the clients?vi. How sound is the relationship?vii. Is the client confident enough to recommend me to others?viii. Tracking the clients‟ feedback, complaints, important days and/or events (personal/ professional)related to themb.) Adding value to the strategies for each client: After segmenting the data, provider should work onthe „Specific Approach Strategy‟ (Giving importance, as per the business needs and feedbacks) for eachclient.c.) Building Trust: To gain the trust and confident of the existing clients it is important for providers toimplement ethical practices and honest approach in the operations. Implementing best IT infrastructure inplace to ensure confidentiality and security of the data or any small information provided by the client willhelp the providers to build a strong relation. Clients may need to be convinced that the providers theyhave selected are true experts with the confidentiality and security system in place and are not overpromising about their services.d.) Proper use of communication channel: Using a right communication channel to address clients is akey to success. Providers should use a proper channel for a smooth and error free communication withtheir existing clients. Every client should be informed about the updated expertise and unique offers
provider has for them. With emergence of social media and other marketing channel it is easy to targetyour segmented market. However, as this strategy is being used by everyone else in the market nowdays, chances are your competitor is using it rigorously and can attract your existing client with theirlucrative offers. You have to make sure that you planned it right and do not leave any margin for even asmall error. Service provider can use social media platform like: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+,Blogging, etc with other good strategies like e-mail marketing, newsletters, organizing or attending anevent/seminar, promoting knowledge through Education-Based Marketing, etc. All these will allowprovider to be touch with the clients and increase referrals, strengthen client loyalty and build good imagein market.e.) Handling Existing Clients’ Account: It is believed that good customer service is the most importantaspect of running a business. A polite, friendly and helpful approach to maintain a single or variety ofexisting clients‟ account helps providers to do well in the market and build credentials. Providers shouldhear their client and carry a fair, honest and reliable approach while communicating and providing bestpossible solutions to their clients. Regular communication with your existing clients will go a long way inhelping you to understand their needs, tasks and requirements at hand. Drawing attention of the clientson the key areas that requires improvement will give your client an idea that you are thinking for theirbetterment and would not mind taking your advice or your services.f.) Loyalty Programs: These days, providers use loyalty programs like: discounts, special offers, etc tokeep their existing clients busy and attracting them with discounts and other exciting offers. So, to keepclients within the reach, provider can implement this strategy to gain advantage. This also helps theproviders in staying in touch with client and helps building a personal relationship.g.) Always Welcome Complaints: Though, it is always difficult to interact and maintain a goodrelationship with an irate and complaining client. It is advisable to proactively hear the complaints andtake quick action. Through this approach providers can think of building a long relationship and looking forimprovement areas which needs to be fixed for better customer service. It is just a matter of proactiveapproach with a right solution. As a human everyone is allowed to do mistakes but by taking theresponsibility and assuring for quick positive action on the same will help building credentials in a longrun.Welcoming complaints help providers to know the:I. Do’s & Don’ts they should look for while providing services to the existing clientsII. Current procedure of workingIII. Right approach for specific problemh.) Tracking the results and monitor responses: It is very important for a provider to look for feedbackand monitor the responses accordingly. This helps them in improving the work process and gain theconfidence of their existing clients. By better feedback response (positive or negative) provider can builda personal and trustworthy relationship with the client.
i.) Mark Your Excellence: For any business and its strategies if the end result is not up to the mark,nothing is going to work and provider would end up loosing their existing clients and business. I am surethe best quality work helps provider in connecting more with clients and getting additional work withsatisfied clients‟ recommendations. So, without even thinking of result, provider should keep in their mindthat giving best quality is most important aspect in any kind of business. Any of the provider‟s best orinnovative idea will fail if they will fail to perform at their best.I am a great supporter of continuous improvement and believe that we can retain our clients bymeasuring and studying the end results and keep improving until we reach our objectives and improve asmuch as we desire. I am sure with all these small changes we can increase our client satisfaction goaland can face any challenges even in the economical slow down. In the fast changing global market,providers need to work towards comprehending and implementing these kinds of strategy in their currentbusinesses to ensure that their existing clients are turning up again and adding more services. The morenumber of clients‟ association and fewer dropouts in a business help in improving the bottom line and canmake the work of provider more rewarding.Draft n Craft specializes in outsourcing of legal and paralegal services. We have provided more than ahandful of advanced solutions to various clients in the U.K. and the U.S.A.; we take immense pleasure inserving all business needs, from the very basic legal undertakings to the most complex and farthestorientations. Contact us