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Best Practices for Client Retention in 2021

The first rule of successfully building a client list should be to immediately stop thinking of the process as building a client list. In any industry, a business makes itself valuable by behaving in service of its clients – understanding their challenges, working to help them overcome those challenges and relating to them as people. Build that and the clients will come.

What is often overlooked in the scramble to attract new prospects, however, is the importance of continuing to meet the needs of those already working with you. And because customer needs are always changing, impressing clients isn’t a one-and-done process. As an entrepreneur, your goal should be to always prove your value to every customer – not just the fancy new one or the biggest brand on your roster.

In fact, client retention amounts to much more than solely ensuring your clients are happy.

It actually makes great business sense: according to HubSpot, maintaining a relationship with existing client results in a far greater ROI – a reported 5 to 25 times less expensive – than attracting new ones.

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Given those figures, it would be hard not to support the notion that client retention should receive the same level of priority,  care, and attention from your company as generating new business leads. After all, the clients who have already said “yes” to your business should be considered at least as valuable as those who may still be stuck on “maybe.” It’s with good reason that some companies dedicate entire departments to optimizing client relationships and answering a single question, again and again: How do we help our customers better meet their goals?

A group of specialists trained to manage client relationships can have a dramatic effect on retention. By maintaining a dialogue with customers and responding to their concerns, these specialists can ensure that their needs are being met and that clients continue to receive their expected value throughout the contract lifespan. These key individuals not only help a business stay connected and adjust as needed – they make conversations around renewals smoother and more successful because of their long-cultivated familiarity and rapport with the client.

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As you might imagine, there’s no one-size-fits-all client retention solution. But if you build your own company strategy around a few clear, client-focused concepts, you’re much more likely to convince a client of your levels of commitment and expertise than an organization that does not.

Frequent, authentic contact. Your clients are human beings. They have concerns, desires and emotions – some of which may even influence whether they choose to continue partnering with your company. Stay connected, show them you care, get to know their business, respond in a timely fashion. Even a monthly newsletter with important news, platform enhancements, releases, webinars and other content is a valuable reminder that you’re hard at work on a client’s behalf. A little engagement goes a long way.

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Looking ahead.

What are your clients’ needs?

Have they changed?

Will they change?

The client often won’t know – and that’s why they hired you!

Be proactive about identifying your partners’ future needs and pain points, then get to work on solving them. Anticipating issues is easier than acting on them after they’ve become a problem, and your client’s trust in the value you bring will grow when they see you looking out for their future.

Offering what others can’t – or don’t. It’s important that your services compare to those of the competition, but you should also strive to bring unique value to the table.

Stand out by finding ways to serve customers that make you an industry go-to. Whether it’s an innovative technology or a distinct service, clients respond well to partners who are always looking for new and better ways to help them meet their objectives.

The secret sauce of client retention, frankly, isn’t much of a secret. The magic in maintaining your company’s appeal in the eyes of existing customers is different for each organization. But, by focusing intently on communication and customized service, you will give your clients every reason to continue calling you a partner.

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