Part 1 of this two-part series, ‘Successfully managing your clients’ highlighted the concept of client growth and its metrics. As discussed previously, client growth in any business is a result of client acquisition and client retention. This part focuses more on the ‘how to’ of client retention.
Understanding your customer and their expectations
Managing portfolios requires an executive to be sensitive to customer needs, understand intently to client requirements and execute and deliver those requests in a timely manner. Executives must also be able to listen-not just nod along thinking of the next response, but really listen, absorb, understand and then advise. Managing expectations of clients is key- Promise only what can be delivered, lighting their candles with the sun when only a matchstick could do will only lead to a fall into the classic “empty vessel makes much noise” syndrome. Doing so can hamper the reputation and credibility of the team and the company.
Increasing the client Portfolio
Understanding the client and their business needs can win this battle. Many companies such as Meltwater, a media intelligence firm thrives on trust and personalized relationships with their clients that help them in serving their clients by providing expert consultancy besides the usual services. They ensure great service by having their most seasoned executives play this quintessential role of portfolio growth. There are ways of achieving this kind of account expansion namely upselling and cross selling.
Upselling- When a growth executive approaches existing clients with an 80% of the service suite that they haven’t bought and explores the opportunity of expanding the relationship. They can sell either higher value products or a new product range that can help their business processes.
Cross Selling- A concept where subsidiaries and different departments within an existing client can take up independent customized licenses. The business should be dynamic enough to be able to cater to multiple avenues and provide multi-layered business solutions.
Making product/service as a part of the workflow
Building long-term associations is fundamental for client growth. Think about your regular day. What products do you use on a daily basis? Or rather what products can you not live without? Skype? Whatsapp? Google? Netflix? Take a moment and think why? Why are these products invaluable? Amongst other reasons, the primary one is just that they are a part of our daily lifestyle. If the service/product can be made a part of the client’s daily workflow, then there will be no issues in shaking hands on a long-term partnership. For example, at Meltwater, we provide a solution called Newsfeed that allows streaming relevant media mentions onto the clients media room, enhancing SEO and drawing in customers. Once live, a client can be rest assured for inflow of online traffic. Most Meltwater clients rely on and value the solution; they incorporate it in their regular communication processes making it a part of their routine.
Adapting your business to your client needs
Genuine client care requires businesses to adapt. Over the last 4 years, a personal observation has been that, the landscape of client consultation has changed drastically. From simple media monitoring and analysis, clients now expect insight reports and influencer mapping. Keeping these changes in mind, at Meltwater the SaaS platform has evolved from media intelligence to big data. Social media monitoring evolved into social ORM and simple journalist databases were evolved into influencer contacts outreach. By adapting the solution to the changing client needs, Meltwater ensured its relevance and was able to grow its business by acquiring new clients and retaining its existing clients.
As the Managing Director of Client Success at Meltwater India, I encourage my team to treat all our clients like partners as they might forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. This is the crux to sustaining and growing your client relationships and hence your business.
Authored by: Bhaskar Bose, Managing Director, Meltwater India
This is the Part 2 of two part's column series.