How to Retain Clients: The First 100 Days

The most popular idea (and eventual winner of the $25,000 speaker grand prize) from MastermindTalks didn’t come from a bestselling author or a famous entrepreneur; rather, it was Design Symphony’s Chief Experience Composer Joey Coleman’s presentation specializing in tactics on retaining customers.

The big idea: Why are we tossing our clients into the dark with a strange account manager right after they put they agree to do business with us? That’s like marrying someone, and carrying them to the honeymoon suite after the wedding, only to leave them there and tell them they’ll be stuck with a strange account manager from now on.

Here’s Coleman’s solution to building stronger client relationships to enhance retention and satisfaction.

THE FIRST 100 DAYS

Finding new clients is undisputedly important; however, it’s equally important to continue the relationship with current clients – the ones who were nice enough to take a chance on us. Coleman presented the client life cycle:

1. Awareness

2. Knowledge

3. Consideration

4. Selection Trial

5. Satisfaction

6. Loyalty

7. Advocacy

Coleman observed that we spend far too much in the top ranks of the sequence, and not enough in the essential lower aspects. He specifically focused on Satisfaction, which leads to the crucial stages of Loyalty and Advocacy. The questions he focused on: “How can I make you feel welcome? How can I make you feel engaged?”

Clients often make their minds about service providers within the first 100 days of their relationship. Satisfaction means the difference between long-term business, or buyer’s remorse.

SEE ALSO: Three Essential Lessons from MastermindTalks

Here was his extremely tactical plan for increasing customer satisfaction (assuming you already have an outstanding product and service):

1. Investigate: A lot of people say they care about their customers, but if you look into their databases they’re still just customer numbers. Instead, focus on their humanity: What are they up to on LinkedIn and Facebook? Coleman showed the crowd how much we can tell simply by looking from a profile picture about a person’s preferences (e.g., hobbies, colors, significant others, etc.). He also pointed out parts of the profile (e.g., the school they attended can imply sports teams preferences, and beliefs or knowledge).

2. Personalize: Tailor your messaging to them accordingly, and make it relevant with whatever information you found from your investigation.

3. Surprise: Say hello to your customer and just check-in or show your appreciation. Even better; send them a surprise gift.

• In person

• Email

• Mail

• Phone

• Video

• Presents (actual gifts, not coupons for your product)

Invite the individual who will be taking over the count to meetings with prospects, and build the relationship before the job is the relationship.

Coleman says that if you build in two to three moments of delight in the first 100 days of your relationship with a client, you will be golden. My own observation: this first 100 days concept is not only applicable to business, but to people from all sorts of careers and in many less formal friendships and relationships.