In this economy, growing your business can create challenges. The cost of doing business, whether it is to outsource your solution or manage internally, continues to escalate. Many small business owners are not fully aware of the cost to acquire and maintain a new client, but knowing these numbers can be the difference between building or losing your business. Whether the true cost is known or not, it is an expense and the customer acquisition cost continues to escalate. Although, gaining new clients is hard work, when your client’s defect, knowing the reasons why they choose to leave is important. This intelligence can be used to retain other clients. If you are not taking care of your clients, someone else is waiting to do so.
For a business to expand and grow there is a need to reduce defection and understand the steps to take to build client retention. Having successfully executed a marketing strategy for a number of FinTech companies, it is important to have an understanding of your client business strategies and goals, if possible. Some of this information can be obtained via Internet research or through their marketing brochures and other information obtained from your own client interviews and feedback. Building a basic program to monitor and evaluate your client portfolio can go a long way. The effort taken to obtain new clients must be balanced by delivering value and helping them to meet their business objectives. Here are a few basic questions to consider:
- Do I hold regular assessment and evaluate meetings to determine there is an alignment with the service level agreements and they are consistently achieved?
- Is the client available for feedback, whether positive or constructive?
- When the feedback is less than positive, is there an action plan developed and agreed to by the client?
- Have you obtained competitor intelligence and how is this information used when communicating with your clients?
- How do you respond to requests to make changes to your service offering or clients?
The responses to these questions can provide you with the information needed to provide additional value to your customers. Holding regular client meetings with an agenda to cover the outstanding issues is important to build a stronger relationship. Customers continue to test the market and may regularly “flirt” with the competition.
One of my clients mentioned, although they have a long term relationship with a vendor, other vendors have offered them a lower price for the same service. Although price, by itself, is not the only reason to defect, the client’s message is “can we start a conversation about price negotiation?” Listening to your clients can save you time and money. Who wants to go through and RFP vendor evaluation, if it can be avoided?
I recall another situation when a large FinTech company provided outsourced technology payment processing for a large global bank. As with many large implementations, there are many issues that get resolved over time. The relationship manager responsible for this account had a long list of issues that needed to be resolved. However, developing a process to address the open issues and implementing a Quarterly Business Review provided the bank with both the confidence and assurance that their business mattered. The forum also created a stronger relationship between the bank and the technology provider.
Developing a plan to ensure you are doing everything you can to retain your clients is worth all the effort. Working to obtain new business when other clients are defecting is the not the recipe for a successful business. However, ignoring your clients, being viewed as a vendor rather than a strategic partner will not result in a sustainable relationship, rather working to be an advocate for your client is possible and achievable.
Written by: Wayne Brown (Founder & CEO of The Walker Group Media – a marketing and business development company serving the financial services and FinTech companies. Our varied market segments helps us to identify synergies and opportunities to stimulate growth as we partner with our clients to build their business. Through our one-on-one CEO Advisory Services, we have helped companies to navigate through key business problems, increase sales, build new revenue streams and gain new customers.) For more information contact Wayne Brown at [email protected]