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Retention Strategy 101

So you have a booming business with clients. WOOHOO!

Only problem is: They only buy from you once.

I mean, assuming your product or service is awesome, what’s up with that? Why are these people not recognizing your value and coming back to buy from you again?

One and done clients are kind of like a rotten egg. Once upon a time, they were great. But now they kind of just stink (for you, not, you know, as a person).

Repeat customers are incredibly valuable to businesses.

They’re not just valuable financially (greater lifetime value) - they also offer additional value to the business by creating better results for testimonials, sharing your business with other people, and leaving positive reviews of their work with you.

If your clients aren’t becoming repeat customers, it comes down to one of the following three issues:

  1. You don’t have any other products, programs, or services to offer.

This is a pretty obvious one. You have only one thing to offer.

(Now, if you have one thing, but it can happen on a recurring basis, such as a subscription service or personal training sessions, this is not your problem. Look at numbers 2 and 3.)

But if you’ve only got one offer, how can you provide continuing support? Let’s say you offer a 3-month program - as a coach, consultant, or other kind of provider. What happens after the 3 months? Do they sign on with you again? Do you offer ongoing support or accountability? What additional value could you provide that would make your client want to continue working with you?

Whenever possible, look to add additional value. If your client has enjoyed their experience of working with you, they probably want to continue working with you. Offer them a way to do that.

2. Your customer experience is lacking.

No business owner, especially a mission-driven one, wants to hear this, but it’s true. You might care A LOT about your clients, but you could also be looking at the user experience from a totally biased perspective.

Many business owners, in an attempt to support their clients and customers, start making things WAY too complex. Too many groups. Too many portals. Too many additions. Too many ______.

What you think about your client experience isn’t what matters. It’s what your CUSTOMERS think about your user experience that matters.

So ask them.

Conduct regular surveys. Have your customer support team provide regular reports on common complaints, questions, and feedback. Audit all of your communication channels with clients - how many emails are they receiving? What’s the open rate? The response rate?

The information is there, if you look for it. Check out the reviews of your product or services. What’s their biggest complaint? Has that been addressed? Have you taken the time to ask them for feedback?

All of these things correlate to the user experience, and failing to address them will cost you repeated business (and referrals).

3. Your customer feels like a number, not a person.

When you’re scaling your business to reach more people (perhaps with online courses or through public speaking), it’s important to remember that depth is still important. If you want to transform lives and really help people, depth has to be as important as breadth.

Personal touch is important. When you’re a smaller business, it’s easy to know every single customer personally. As you get bigger, you may not know each one on a personal level, but you can still be personal with them.

How can you accomplish this?

If you offer something like a coaching program or online course, you might create a Facebook group where you answer questions, provide support, and create space for clients to interact with one another. (Just make sure you’re actively engaged! Creating a group and then NOT being active in it will have the opposite effect).

If you have a service-based business or a product, you might create a nurture sequence. This is an email series that checks in with the customer periodically. You might share tips based on where the customer is in their journey, or just say, “Hey! How’s it going?” It seems really simple, but you would be amazed how far the personal touch here goes. It lets your customers know that you GET them and that you’re there to support them.

One of my favorite strategies to use (which is highly effective across industries) is creating a “persona”.

When you run even a medium-sized business, it can be easy for customers to feel like they’re on their own once they’ve bought your product or service. This “persona” is someone they can build a relationship with, ask questions of, etc. So instead of emailing customer support and hearing back from a random person, or engaging in a Facebook group with some member of your support staff, they can go to this “person” to ask questions and get help. This persona can be manned by several different people, but the point is to have ONE person they can feel connected to, who they feel like they can rely on when they have questions or need support.

Have questions about retaining your clients or customers? Share them in the comments, and I’ll answer them in a blog! :)


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