All businesses want to boost customer loyalty. Clients who are happy and satisfied with your work will want to hire you again; this allows you to build a sustainable business model and a client base that keeps coming back – helping to drive you to success.
Getting new clients can be a time-consuming and expensive process, whereas keeping your existing client base will ensure a continuous stream of revenue. It can be challenging to remain competitive, so you’ll want to come up with strategies that’ll increase customer engagement; take a look below at what these can look like.
Why You Should Improve Client Loyalty
Retaining your clients will help your business to thrive. And, while you may lose some clients over time – for example, they may want to cut back on expenses and decide not to hire a contractor or freelancer for a project – you can still ensure that you’re keeping most of your clientele engaged and happy.
As contractor accountants, we recognise the importance of retaining clients in a changing world. Issues like Brexit, IR35 and the pandemic mean that contractors, freelancers and locums must adapt to new and changing circumstances, so stability and income security are crucial.
Being good at what you do is only half the battle, so we’re looking into how you can grow and keep your client base.
Don’t wait to receive feedback or information from your client; instead, email or call your clients to ask if they’re happy with the project and how it’s progressing. This helps your clients to feel valued and keeps you informed about their ever-changing needs and expectations.
Your clients will appreciate this proactive attitude because it will assure them that you know what you’re doing, are on top of everything and care about their project. Besides, by checking in regularly and being able to fix issues before they arise (or as soon as they do) means your clients will be satisfied with the service you’re providing.
They’re much more likely to become a return client.
Actively Listen to Your Clients
Asking for feedback is important, but so is implementing it. Your clients want to feel like their feedback matters, so if they offer you their thoughts and opinions, take them into consideration. Listening to, and acting on your clients’ feedback helps to build trust and loyalty.
So, be aware of your clients’ expectations so that you can better negotiate or provide work, and try to surpass them by delivering excellence at all times.
Get to Know Your Clients
Getting to know your clients can help boost loyalty because they’ll feel like they’re working with someone who values them and listens to them.
Remembering birthdays or other special occasions, and recalling details of your latest conversations with your clients will go a long way toward increasing their loyalty. If needed, note down everything of interest when you talk to both potential and existing customers.
Make Sure You’re Contactable
Ensure that your clients know your working hours and days and remain contactable during this time. This way, you can answer their questions promptly and showcase how reliable you are. This doesn’t mean you have to drop everything you’re doing at once, but you should still make sure to follow up on your clients’ queries as soon as you can.
As a freelancer or contractor, you’ll have gone into self-employment to make your own hours and rules, so it’s equally important that you carve personal time for yourself. Let your clients know when you’re contactable and when you’re not, so they know when they can easily reach you.
Show Commitment to the Client
Prioritise customer service, since this can lead to a higher degree of loyalty. Reply to your clients on social media, always be polite, be enthusiastic about their project and let them know that you genuinely care about the work you do and it’s not just about the money.
People like to feel valued, so this will help to keep your clients around for longer. Honesty is also important. You should always try to avoid mistakes but when a problem does arise, your client will appreciate you being upfront and honest.
Also, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to your clients and to turn down a gig if you don’t feel it’s the best fit for you (or them). Again, your clients will thank you for your honesty, as it shows you care about them and are dedicated to providing a great experience.
Deliver by the Agreed Deadline
Providing excellent work is a given, but it’s just as important that you deliver it on time. This will help you be known as someone who is reliable and trustworthy, something that will increase loyalty in your client base.
There are many ways to organise your projects to ensure you’re complying with deadlines, so make use of all possible resources to ensure client satisfaction. If your clients are happy, they’ll return, so don’t underestimate how important this is.
Create a Referral Programme
Word of mouth is one of your most important tools. People trust their friends’, family’s and business partners’ recommendations, so they’re more likely to engage your services if they’ve heard good things about you already. A referral programme can be a great way to find new clients.
When you have loyal clients, they can help you by giving positive references of your work; in return, they can get benefits, like a discount or a few hours of free work. This encourages people to share your services, which can help you to grow your client base and to keep the one you already have.
Offer Value for Money
You don’t want your clients to be disappointed about the work you provide, so make sure you’re delivering on what you promised and that you’re offering value for their money. This doesn’t mean lowering your rates but, instead, offering top quality services for what you’re being paid.
You may not even be particularly excited about a project; still, you must deliver the best possible job if you want people to remember you the next time they need a contractor. Money is a key issue to all businesses, so people want to make sure they’re getting value from their spend.
If you can provide this, you are very likely to boost loyalty and retain your clients for longer.
Stay in Touch with Past Clients
As we mentioned above, you may lose clients through no fault of your own. They may want to cut back on expenses or simply not need any more work from you at the moment. So, it’s a good time to keep in touch with them even if you’re no longer providing them with services. This will keep you ‘fresh’ in their minds and will remind them of you when they need to hire a freelancer or contractor again.
Personalise the Service You Offer
Each client is different, so they have their unique preferences and tastes. Early on, establish how they want to be contacted (by phone, email?) and how often (once a week, fortnightly?), and how they like to receive reports.
Providing a bespoke service will endear you to your clients, as will adding a personal touch like asking about the holidays they took or whether they have any plans for the weekend.
Go the Extra Mile
When it comes to your service, going above and beyond can lead to satisfied clients. So, do your best to meet and exceed expectations, but always keeping in mind that you have other clients too. This is a balancing act, since you want to make sure you’re not neglecting other clients by focusing too much on just a few.
Offer Payment Plans
One thing you should do is ensure that your clients have several ways of paying you. For example, don’t just provide a bank transfer option, but consider tools like PayPal as well. This will depend on the client, so tailor your payments to their requirements, which will also help you to receive these payments on time.
Sometimes, however, a client may run into cash flow problems. If, otherwise, this is a great client, you may want to consider offering a payment plan to help them get back on their feet without the pressure of late fees or penalties. Of course, this will also depend on your situation, so make sure you’re able to do this.
Your client will surely appreciate the effort, as well as the trust you put in them, which will lead to an increase in loyalty.
It can take a long time to win a new client so, when that happens, you want to ensure their loyalty. With our tips, you’re well on your way to boosting this loyalty, which will help you to get more income security and to grow your business.
As limited company accountants and sole trader accountants, we can help manage your accounts, so you don’t have to. This will free you up to focus on your business and on developing strong relationships with your clients. Get in touch today on 0330 024 0406 to learn more about what we can do for you.