How to Retain Struggling Clients – Laura Hogan

09 April 2019

Posted in: BSEO

Laura Hogan, owner of Milo’s Mail, spoke at BrightonSEO April 2019 with a focus on client retention in a presentation entitled “Retaining Struggling Clients: How to Rebuild Trust”. Here’s what we took from it:

Overview

What was the talk about?

What is the average lifecycle of a client? Hard to tell really. Based on the poll that Laura put out to her network, 6-12 months seems to be standard. The main reason that clients leave are:

  • Clients are mis-sold; promised the world with their expectations ultimately not being met.
  • You don’t have a good understanding of their business, what they do, the high margin products that they sell, what their goals are, etc.
  • No action – not following up on what you said you would do.
  • Poor results – either through doing nothing or not managing their expectations correctly.
  • Lack of support – not going over and beyond to help your client. You need to become an extension of their marketing department.
  • Communication – it’s a massive problem when communication breaks down. If your client is chasing you, you’ve failed.

Potential impact on the industry

So we’ve seen how clients are lost and sometimes there is just nothing that you can do about it. However, there are steps that can be taken to mitigate this risk.

  • Set out clear targets from the get-go. Make sure that your client understands what you are aiming to achieve and get their agreement.
  • Plan – set out short plans of no more than 3 months so that you are able to react should something change.It’s hard to stick to a lengthy, rigid plan in an ever-shifting digital environment. You need to ensure that all planning is as agile as possible.
  • Understand the business – at the very least make sure your client has completed an onboarding questionnaire. Understand what they are about, what the company aims to achieve, the different products, the best-selling products, etc. The more information, the better.
  • Get to know them – take the relationship beyond business. People buy from people at the end of the day. It also helps in that it shakes off the mundane element of business conversation and provides an extra layer of understanding.
  • Be honest – if you’ve messed up, tell them. They will respect you more.
  • Support them – offer to help them out where you can, over and beyond what you have been contracted to do. If you make them look good in front of their bosses, they will be more inclined to help you when you need it.
  • Ditch email – pick up the phone or arrange to meet them from time to time. This helps build stronger relationships.
  • Communication – you need to be in touch often with meaningful information. Update them as to how everything is going, any ideas you might have, etc.

At the end of the day you will have a greater chance of retaining your client if you are prepared to work hard and go the extra mile for your client.

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