Customer service is an essential component of marketing your services, particularly when you are self-employed. You might be great at what you do, but that won’t matter to your clients if you provide terrible (or non-existent) customer service. Why is it important to provide great customer service – even when you are a company of one? Because repeat business and loyalty are important to the success of your business.
To ensure the success and longevity of your business, at least 70 per cent of your clients should come from past clients and their referrals. To be truly successful, bump that number up to 90 per cent. It costs less to market to and keep existing clients than it does to find new clients. And if your past clients keep sending you business, and referrals, then what you spend on maintaining those relationships (by providing great customer service) will be repaid many times over. Repeat clients serve as your unpaid marketing team.
Small increases in client retention pay off very significant dividends. According to one study, a 5 per cent increase in customer retention (or, keeping 5 more of your next 100 clients) will result in a 25 to 95 per cent increase in your long-term profits. Why?
- It is at least five times more expensive to get a new client vs. keeping an existing client.
- It costs almost nothing to provide existing clients with additional services.
- It is more efficient to deal with existing clients.
There are other reasons, but these ones are key to me as an independent provider of services with one employee (me).
Consider these ideas for building and maintaining loyalty among your clients:
- Aim for win-win (both you and your client benefit from the relationship).
- Keep the process simple.
- Reward partners well.
- Maintain honest, two-way communication.
- Follow up on what you say.
How do you provide excellent customer service? Let me know – email@example.com.