"It is not your customer's job to remember you, it is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don't have the chance to forget you."
~ Patricia Fripp, award-winning speaker, author, sales presentation skills trainer, and speech coach
For an agency, winning over new clients is only part of the journey. Once you have them, how can you make sure you keep them? (Or even more ideally, maximize those contracts’ value?)
Some might think the answer is simple: Just provide excellent service, right? Not quite — although that is a critical piece of the puzzle.
So, what works best? Below, we’ll cover eight tried-and-true actions that will help strengthen the bond with your clients, create loyalty, and maintain their business.
1. Create a personalized experience tailored to your customers
All your clients are unique, and so your approach to working with and retaining each one will differ. Here’s how you can build a personalized experience that targets each business’s individual needs.
Nail down the basics. Certain aspects of the customer experience are critical to get right no matter who your client is. For example, nobody wants to be rudely dismissed by their point of contact at your agency. Make sure your client experience exudes warmth, welcoming every interaction with friendliness and respect. No one wants to feel ignored or undervalued, especially right from the onboarding stage.
Collect data about them. In the agency world, it's all about understanding your clients better without crossing privacy boundaries. Collect essential data from your client point of contact like work anniversaries and preferred communication channels. These insights lay the groundwork for delivering a personalized experience.
Use customer relationship management (CRM) software. Instead of storing data in different places, employ software to create a single source of truth in your files. That way, whether sales, marketing, customer service, or another team member needs client information, they know where to find it quickly.
Personalize your email marketing. Remember all that helpful data you collected? Put it to good use by personalizing your email marketing campaigns, which can encourage ongoing engagement. Tailor your messages to match each client’s communication styles and resonate with their unique needs and priorities.
Enhance social media engagement. Personalization doesn’t stop at your agency’s communication platforms or project management software. Engage with clients via social media as well, and share content that speaks directly to their interests and challenges.
2. Create loyal customers with loyalty or referral programs
Loyalty programs go a long way toward making them feel appreciated and securing repeat purchases. They make clients feel valued and encourage them to stick with your agency. Similarly, referral programs turn those satisfied customers into your agency’s biggest advocates, connecting you with new prospective clients building loyalty along the way. Here’s a closer look at how these programs can benefit your agency:
Loyalty programs. Agencies offer points for purchases. Once they build up enough points, customers can use them for free products or services, discounts, VIP events, or other rewards. This strategy encourages clients to always buy from you instead of the competition.
Referral programs. The most successful referral programs strengthen your relationship with current customers and give you a line on new ones. You can execute a referral campaign by email, social media, or in person. Offer your existing client base a compelling incentive for referrals. A word-of-mouth program like this can both increase your number of new clients and decrease your customer churn rate.
3. Remain in constant communication with your customers (without being annoying)
Another effective client retention strategy is to consistently communicate valuable information to them. Sending out regular newsletters, social media updates, and short surveys keeps them engaged, and asking for feedback shows them that your agency values their opinions.
4. Deliver 5-star customer service
“No amount of time, energy, and resources poured into your marketing efforts can override the negative impact of poorly executed customer service.”
~ Kipp Bodnar, CMO of Hubspot
Oh-so-many customers have been lost forever because of one bad customer service experience. As we mentioned above, elevating the quality of your client interactions is a big factor in creating long-lasting relationships. Some of your agency’s service goals should be providing:
Omnichannel support. Customers should be able to reach your company via email, text, phone, or social media.
Quick response times. Waiting a day or more for a response to a client's concern or question isn’t acceptable in the “instant gratification” age. Your agency should have 24/7 support, whether it’s live, asynchronous, or a chatbot for self-service.
Friendly and experienced team members. A highly trained team is an integral part of achieving client satisfaction. They should understand all of your agency’s services, its client base, and be well-versed in de-escalating high-stress situations.
5. Consistently provide high-quality work
Building a long-term, profitable customer relationship demands always delivering what you promise. If you don’t, you’ll break their trust — and then, it’s tough to repair the damage.
Set realistic goals. Accepting projects when you don’t have the resources to see them through, or adding to the scope of projects without re-allocating your resources will blow up in your face. Be objective about the workflow you and your team can deliver and don’t go beyond it.
Manage expectations. Work closely with your clients to reiterate what was originally agreed upon. Consistent updates that show progress increase customer satisfaction.
Cultivate a well-qualified team. Experienced team members do a better job in a short amount of time. If you have green team members, make sure they’re being well mentored.
Own and correct your mistakes. How you handle mistakes says a lot about your professionalism and emotional intelligence (EQ). Analyze your team’s output and identify any errors as quickly as possible. By explaining the mistake and the steps you’ve taken to set it right, you create a transparent dialogue with the client and build trust.
6. Seek (and act on) customer feedback
Assuming you know how your customers feel can set you up for failure. Why not ask them? Asking for regular feedback from your repeat customers sheds light on what you’re doing right and what needs improvement.
Surveys. Periodically send out a short list of questions through your client’s preferred communication channels. Following project deliveries is a great time to send these feedback requests.
Direct communication. Ask for feedback directly, whether it’s via Slack, through email, on the phone, or in person. A simple, “What are we doing well and how can we improve what we’re doing for your business?” can provide invaluable insights your team can use to boost future project successes.
Making customer feedback an integral part of your marketing strategy helps you better understand their needs, spot trends, and address issues before they become big problems. (Bonus: It’s also an easy way to receive customer testimonials you can use on your website and social media channels.
However, don’t just ask and then store the answers away, unaddressed. Show them you’re listening and using their feedback to make actionable improvements.
7. Periodically provide special deals to existing customers
Everybody enjoys feeling special and your agency should make every effort to show appreciation to its repeat clients. Implement existing customer marketing campaigns by offering them deep discounts for a limited time, sneak peeks of new products, and free samples or services. Always relay a thank you for their loyalty to drive home how much you appreciate and want to acknowledge them.
8. Offer a knowledge base
Going the extra mile to forge a customer community is our final customer retention program recommendation. Help clients get more value from your services by offering:
Informative blog posts. Consistent blogs that cover your customer’s main pain points and give actionable insights can set your agency up as a trustworthy thought leader.
Webinars. Complimentary “How-to,” “What’s new,” “Do’s and Don’ts,” and panel expert presentations are cost-effective ways to increase customer satisfaction.
Workshops. Clients who want to learn more about using your product or service may appreciate a hands-on opportunity.
Website resources. A rich assortment of e-books, tutorials, white papers, infographics, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) can help them make better use of your services — and set you apart from your competition.
The customer retention rate (CRR) formula
It’s important to know how many customers you keep and how many you lose within a given period of time. Once you establish that metric, you can set goals to improve your agency’s performance.
Calculate your customer retention rate with this formula:
CRR = [(Customers at the end of a time period – New customers that were acquired during that time period) / Number of customers at the start of the time period] * 100
For example, if an agency was working with 15 customers at the start of 2023, they brought in 6 new customers in 2023, and they had 17 customers at the end of 2023, they would calculate their customer retention rate with these figures:
[(17 – 6) / 15] * 100 = 73.33%
This agency’s customer retention rate is 73.33% for 2023. According to Shopify, good CRRs range from 70% to 80%, depending on the company and industry.
Partner with Teamwork.com to elevate your customer retention efforts
Each of these strategies offers your agency a way to build trust, show appreciation, and deliver what you promised to your customers. Implement one, a few, or all of them. They’ll help you gain insight into how you can build a better customer journey.
Teamwork.com is a powerful tool that can help you leverage automation to maximize the success of your client retention initiatives.
Built specifically for agencies, our software provides onboarding templates for first-time clients, a robust planning and task management platform, and an advanced communication network that keeps everyone informed. The result? Smoother project workflows, greater efficiency, and informed, happy customers.