Retaining Clients in your Business

retaining clients header
Sarah Flutey
Head of Marketing at Timely
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Your business can’t grow if you’re only focussed on getting new customers. You also need to work on retaining clients that you already have.

Your business can only grow if you’re retaining clients. If you’re bringing in hundreds of bookings and they’re never coming back, you’re just treading water.

Here are a few steps that you can take to increase your customer retention.

1. Create relationships

Firstly and most importantly, create meaningful relationships with each one of your clients. Loyalty comes from a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship. That personal and friendly touch is called “customer service” by some. Retaining clients is achieved by building a rapport and getting involved in their lives.

It has been proven to work in the past too. Relationship marketing is based on the principle that the lifetime value of a customer is what gives you your return on investment. Malcom from Shock Consult wrote a post for us about ‘Lifetime Value of a Customer’. He gives the example of someone paying $50 to gain a customer that stays with you for four years. At the end of the four years, they have $1,840 in profit from that client. A good return on investment for only $50!

Create good relationships, and increase the lifetime value of a client.

2. It’s a journey

When a new client comes to see you, what do they experience? Do they show up, get their service done and leave? Or do they show up to a place with atmosphere and energy, where they’re greeted when they walk in and made to feel comfortable?

Your client’s journey at your business is an experience that you control entirely. Treating your clients to something memorable gives them more than a simple haircut or massage ever could. It makes them feel like they’re being invested in by you. This cultivates loyalty and helps with retaining clients.

3. Stop asking your customers to ‘rebook’

Listen to yourself and your team when you’re at the reception desk seeing your clients out. Are you asking your clients to “rebook?” It’s an industry term and does nothing to inspire your client to commit. It’s also not what a client wants to hear just as they’re walking out the door after a relaxing massage.

Instead, use automated SMS messages to contact clients in the days following an appointment. Rather than interrupting their relaxed state of mind, you’ll be reminding them about the amazing experience they had with you a few days earlier.

Speak to your customers in their language. In the SMS or email you could say, “To keep your hair looking the best, let’s arrange your next haircut/colour now.” Or, “Let’s book in an appointment in 4 weeks so that we can treat you again before your symptoms come up.”

Add urgency to your message, and use normal, friendly language.

4. Encourage clients to return sooner

You could have your customers book whenever they wanted, but it’s in their best interest to make their appointments with you regularly.

If they’re hairdressing or beauty clients, they will look good for longer if they come in regularly. If they’re massage clients, they’ll be feeling more relaxed overall if they frequent your business. Use these messages in your marketing to create regulars and help with retaining clients.

Booking regularly decreases the visit gaps in your appointment calendar and increases the number of visits your clients have each year. You stand to increase your annual business income by a third.

It’s simple math. The annual difference between a client who spends $200 per visit coming every 5 weeks, to coming every 8 weeks is $600. Now multiply that by 7 clients a day, 5 days a week. You could increase revenue by $21,000 per year, per stylist.

5. Get your customers to book online

Your customers book their flights, hotels, and restaurants online. They even buy clothes online. They want instant results, when it suits them. People today are easily frustrated and inconvenienced by things that take too long. If it’s not available to them right now (or worse, if it doesn’t work) they will leave as fast as you can say “I just lost a client”. It’s a harsh reality.

A good first step is to make sure that you have online booking on your website and Facebook page, and remember that not all booking systems are made equal.

Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Mobile optimisation: Can your clients use it without having to squeeze and pinch? A website should adapt to the device it is being viewed on. Remember, around 60% of people who are on the web are on a mobile device. Make it easy for them.
  • Book and edit bookings online: To maintain customer loyalty you have to provide them with the flexibility to manage their appointments own time. You’ll also save yourself many interruptions with less incoming re-scheduling phone calls.
  • Ease of use: Is your booking system simple and easy to navigate for your clients? Avoid clunky user experiences. It reflects badly on your brand.
retaining clients book online

6. Keep in touch between appointments

Keep in touch with your customers and you won’t fall far from their thoughts. When they next need your services, or when one of their friends do, you’ll be the first person on their mind. Your online booking system can then take the appointment for you.

Here are some tips to stay at the top of your client’s minds:

  • Text your customers in between appointments reminding them of deals and offers that you have. You can use SMS marketing to do this regularly – more on that here.
  • Email is a good way to keep in touch with customers. If there’s something that you think a particular customer would like, establish a relationship with them by sending them a picture or a link to it.
  • Send a monthly e-newsletter about what’s hot and what’s not to keep your customers updated. You can use MailChimp for this – more on that here.
  • Another easy tactic is to give your more regular customers a copy of a book you think they’ll enjoy, and ask them to return it at their next appointment. It’s a bit cheeky, but it works.

The key to retaining clients

Your business can’t grow if you’re only focused on getting new customers. You also need to work on retaining clients that you already have.

Do this by creating relationships with your customers. Keep in touch with them often, and make it as easy as possible for them to book with you. It’s not just about the service you’re providing. It’s about everything that happens before it, and everything after as well.

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