Customer retention and referrals are the best ways to construct a fantastic client list. While working with customers long-term and new, the assignment of each consulting professional is to supply the best quality service, exceed client expectations and create the conditions for a very long connection and the receipt of referrals. Lately, one of my customers did precisely that and called me his close friend and colleague.
Take your first step on the path toward customer retention by fulfilling, if not surpassing, your customer’s expectations, as mentioned. Nurture the relationship by considering how you may be useful to the customer’s business interests, whether you are currently working on a project together with him. By way of instance, if you happen upon an article which you would expect to be related to your customer, send the link. Pass along the details of a seminar or workshop which may be of interest, to demonstrate that you think about his/her priorities whether you’re on “active duty.” Needless to say, the very best relationship-building strategy is to refer a customer to your customer. You’ll be golden!
Should your customer refer you to someone, be sure to call or better still, stop in the office, to express your gratitude in person. An especially major assignment could be worthy of a dinner or dinner, compliments of you.
However, the path to customer retention and referrals begins with the exceptional work that you send while on assignment. Here are a few things to Remember:
If you know you will be asked to deal with an urgent problem that has to be quickly solved, do your homework and come to the job brimming with practical ideas and a couple of well-chosen questions. Demonstrate that you’re a problem-solver and supplier of useful solutions.
Listen to the customer
Listen up and find out how the customer views matters from his/her standpoint, whether it’s the way to implement the solution for your job you are working on, the way to solve a customer service glitch, or another work issue. Prove that you know and respect the customer’s opinions and values.
Respect the client’s thoughts and suggestions
You might not have all of the answers. The customer’s lived experience matters. Be open to integrating the customer’s ideas to your proposed solution. Always agree with the customer and confirm his/her choices. Subtly adapt his/her suggested strategy into something you know will be successful, when necessary. If the customer mentions that another adviser has managed a similar project in another manner, listen and learn. You may receive helpful information about the best way best to enhance your business practices.
Meetings may be rare, but mails are a means to report on your many successes toward accomplishing the objectives and aims of the project.
Moreover, the email trail will be useful when it is time to send a statement and record your billable hours. Everything you do not want is a customer who questions why you are billing for some number of hours and suggesting that you are padding the bill. Moreover, if the customer feels that some feature of the project scope should be enlarged or diminished, adjustments can be made in a timely manner.
Contain project specifications, the fee arrangement, the payment schedule, project milestones, the deliverables and the expected dates.
It requires less time and effort to keep a customer than to pursue and acquire a new one. Moreover, long-term clients are far more inclined to bestow on you that supreme affirmation, a referral.