How to Keep Clients for Longer
Client retention is the part of a business which can often be overlooked. Lots of time, energy, and money goes into acquiring new clients but once they become a new client, it’s just assumed the ‘thing’ they signed up to will be enough.
In order to keep clients for longer and create raving fans (the type who refer other people to you), you need to create a great experience from the start.
The more clients you retain, the less you have to acquire at the front end. The more raving fans you create, the more likely you are to receive a higher number of referrals. Makes sense right?
The way in which you achieve client retention and create raving fans is by having a ‘new client onboarding process’. A process which would typically focus on the first 90 days of the new client’s journey and ensures there are meaningful touch points with the client along the way.
The aim is to educate and embed the client into your way of doing as well as motivate and encourage them to achieve the results they want. If your business provides a service which is shorter than 90 days, your onboarding process will simply be shorter.
Regardless of the duration, all new clients will go through six key stages. Depending on your business and the type of service you provide, the length of time new clients remain in each stage will vary. The length of time could vary from a matter of hours or a couple of days through to weeks or even months.
The six key stages are:
- Sign Up
- Affirming the Decision
- Getting Started
- Creating New Habits
- Achieving a Result
- Raving Fan
Stage 1 Sign Up – This is the moment the person actually signs up. They are likely to feel happy and even excited as they’ve found a solution to get the results they want. If you fail to acknowledge those positive emotions at this time, you will miss an opportunity to associate those feelings with your business.
Stage 2 Affirming the Decision – This is point when the client may start to question or doubt their decision; often referred to as buyer’s remorse. If you fail to address these feelings then you have to work harder to regain the positive emotions they felt when they signed up.
Stage 3 Getting Started – This is the first time they engage as a paying client. Depending on your business, this could be the first time they attend a live class or log into the online area. It’s whatever your business requires them to do to get started. Failure to get them started on the right foot and you may struggle to keep them as a client. For example, if they are confused about what to do and how to do it because they haven’t received clear instructions.
Stage 4 Creating New Habits – The client is now starting to make some changes and create new habits. They are engaging more in your classes or sessions and finding their feet with what they need to do.
At this stage you do still need to hold their hand and continue to explain how things work. The aim is to keep guiding them through as they continue to form new habits and get used to how your business works. Just because you explained what and how at the start of their journey, it’s a mistake to assume you don’t need to explain again.
Stage 5 Achieving a Result – This is the point at which the client achieves a result. It could be a transformational result or equally it could be a small stepping stone result. Your business may get results with people very quickly or it may take some time. If you fail to deliver a result in some way, the client is likely to be disappointed, frustrated or worst case angry.
Undoubtedly, there will be times when lack of results is purely down to the client not doing what they need to do. It is your responsibility to make sure they know the what and the how. If, however, the lack of results is down to your business not delivering what you said it would, then you must make sure you fix things and fast.
When the client is achieving a result, it will be far easier to move them onto the next stage.
Stage 6 – Raving Fan – When a client achieves results, feels part of your community or has a strong positive connection to your business, they are far more likely to refer others to you.
Now you have an awareness of the six stages, consider what your new client onboarding process will look like.
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