Founder & CEO of Lemonade Stand and the creator of Yalla, a platform 100% committed to helping marketing teams and agencies run better.
There has never been a better way to build a business and a brand than to keep your existing clients happy. By keeping your existing clients happy, you accomplish a couple of things.
First, you’re not constantly fighting the rollercoaster of churn. There is nothing more demoralizing to a team than working your tail off to get a new client, only to have an existing client leave. “Hey team, we got a new client today at $5K in MRR (monthly recurring revenue). But we also lost one of our clients at $6K in MRR.” One step forward, two steps back. No fun at all.
Second, it’s much more lucrative to keep an existing client happy than it is to bring on a new client. If your existing clients are happy, you’ll keep that revenue and have opportunities for upsells and additional services. But maybe best of all, those happy clients can refer you to their friends and business associates. With raving fans, you might not even need an outbound sales team; your customers will become your outbound sales team, and they’ll be the best outbound sales team you’ve ever had. Imagine, a sales team that pays you and brings you new customers.
Would you rather have to “sell” someone on your services, or would you rather have one of your customers speak highly about you and have that new customer already “sold” by the time they call you on the phone because you took such good care of your existing customers they practically beg you to take them on as a client?
After 10 years of running a seven-figure digital marketing agency, I’ve learned that there is one thing above all else that helps us keep our clients. It is the concept of “return and report.”
One of our biggest weaknesses over the years as a digital agency was that of doing amazing work and then moving on to the next project without reporting it to the client. Especially in digital marketing and other technology businesses, the work we do is often behind the scenes and hard to see. Imagine an artist creating a beautiful piece of art and then not showing it to the buyer who paid them to sculpt it. It would never happen. But that’s exactly what happens in our industry every day of the week, and it costs agencies millions of dollars in lost clients that could have easily been avoided by taking two minutes to send a simple email. Imagine that. You spend 20 hours doing SEO on a website but fail to take two minutes to send a quick email when you make a few gains in the search engines.
The job is not done when your work is done. The job is only done when you’ve reported it to the client and gotten some goodwill out of it. At the end of the day, your report, however large or small, is even more important than the work itself. The work itself is worthless unless the client sees and recognizes your effort.
When a client doesn’t hear from you often, they just assume you’ve forgotten them or that you have something more important to do. I believe that perceived indifference is the No. 1 reason why people leave a service-based business. You might not be indifferent to that client in your heart, but the client’s perception is their reality. And if they perceive that you don’t care about them, then it doesn’t matter if you do care about them.
You should build personalized ways to report to your clients and show that you care on a regular basis. Even if there’s not much going on and you’ve had a slow month, find a way to stay in front of them and show them that you care. Even if they’re having a bad month, show them that you’re still there for them. Honestly, that’s what people want more than anything. Even more than results. They just want to know that someone cares. When they pick up the phone, they want someone to answer. When they send an email, they want someone to respond. Even if you don’t have the answer at the time, they just want to know that someone is listening to them and that they are important.
If a marketing agency — or really any type of business — wants to succeed, they have to make sure that the entire team at every level within the organization understands that concept. From the receptionist to the CEO and everyone in between, there cannot be perceived indifference or you will lose.
People are naturally drawn to positivity and people who care. They’re having hard days in their various businesses just like you are. Finding a way to report some good news about their account, or even just checking in with them when there’s not much to report, will go a long way. It seems trite, but it means the world to your client.
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Author: Greg Trimble, Forbes Councils Member