Web Designers: How to get more Loyal Clients
Profit in business comes from repeat customers – W. Edwards Deming (one of the people responsible for Japan transformation during World War II)
Having loyal clients can bring you several benefits, including:
- Not having to persuade them to buy your services all over again, thus reducing costs and increasing profits
- Your loyal clients probably have friends who are also interested in using your service, so you’ll get new referrals as well.
The real question is, how to increase the probability your regular clients will become (or stay) loyal? There are several things you can do.
Before we start, let me say this is not another blah-blah “care about your clients” type of article. I will give you specific steps you can apply today and get real results.
Lower the Customer’s Effort
There was one recent article that appeared in Harvard Business Review named “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers“. The article argued that the conventional wisdom of “exceeding customer expectations” is not as important as people claim. Instead, what customers really want (but rarely get) is just a satisfactory solution to their issue.
Be careful, this applies only to customer service. We’ll discuss whether the same principle applies the product you deliver.
How can I take this and apply it to my own business?
The key point is: Reduce the effort your customers make when dealing with you. Help them solve their problems and concerns quickly and easily.
- If most of your clients ask the same questions during the design process, offer them a short FAQ before you start working on their project. Something like: “I thought you might want to read this before I start working on this client, it will answer some of the questions you’ll probably have”.
- If you have a team and your client emails you a question you don’t know the answer to (but your team member does), don’t tell him to go and send an email AGAIN to your team member. Instead, redirect the question yourself. Lesson: One of the keys to reducing clients’ effort involves reducing the number of times they have to repeat a question.
- Try to predict the issues your clients might have (and then eliminate them). For example, after you make the deal, your client will probably want to know the status of the project (possible solution: give a short daily status report). After you deliver the prototype, give clear and easy steps on how the client can give you feedback on it because they’ll probably want to suggest a few changes.
The key point is to make the whole interaction as easy & effortless & fast (without sacrificing quality, of course) as possible for the client.
How to measure customer effort
If you want to see whether the ideas I proposed above will result in clients perceiving their interaction as not-so-effortful, ask them the following question: “How much effort did you personally have to put to handle this request/question/interaction” on a scale from 1 to 5 where 1 – very low effort and 5 – very high effort. You can then always ask WHY did they chose that rating and learn some lessons to decrease the further effort.
Remember: Solve their problems before exceeding their expectations.
The basics remain the same
The basics always remain the same. To have loyal clients you also need to:
- Fulfill your client’s expectations. They expect a decent website for the price
- Experiment with exceeding their expectations in the product. Educate yourself on usability/testing/writing for the web. Exceeding your client’s expectations in the product you deliver can work very well potentially.
- You can ask them this simple question after everything is finished: “Would you recommend us to a friend or colleague?” and offer yes/no as possible answers. You can then ask why and get some good insights. Asking this question on whether they’ll recommend you to a friend or a colleague can give you an overall view of how well your business satisfies their needs.
If you got some ‘aha’ moments while reading this article, please let us know in the comments below (it isn’t hard! ).