Best Practices for identifying a Client Retention Problem


Published August 17, 2022

When it comes to retaining clients, the best offence is a good defence.

While client retention is universally recognised as more profitable than finding new clients, it’s something that businesses seem incapable of mastering. Average retention rates are only 55% for hospitality businesses, and even the best performing sector, media, loses 16% of clients each year. By being proactive and spotting retention risks early, you can keep your clients happy and keep them from leaving, beating those odds and improving your revenue.

Here are some best practices for spotting retention risks:

Pay Attention to Communication Patterns

Consistent communication is key to retaining your clients. If you notice that your client is communicating less often or seems less engaged, that could be a sign that they're losing interest. Reengage with them through regular communication and ask them how you could improve their experience.

Look for Changes in Behaviour

If a client who used to be very receptive to your calls suddenly becomes unresponsive or starts cancelling meetings, that’s a clear red flag. They may be unhappy with your services or want to distance themselves from your company.

Be Aware of Outside Factors

Not everything a client does will be about your company and products. Even a sudden drop in communication could be driven by events that have nothing to do with you.

When your client is going through a tough time personally or professionally, they may not have time for you. If you maintain a good working relationship with them, one that goes beyond the bare minimum needed for work, then they’ll feel comfortable discussing their issues. That way, you’re more likely to know if an external factor is affecting the relationship.

Understand What Good Engagement Looks Like

To recognise when a client doesn’t engage well with your product or service, you need to know what it looks like when they do.

Identify your success stories. Is there a client you know you have a good relationship with? Is there a particular success within your company you can look to? Use these examples as benchmarks for measuring other client relationships, to identify what’s missing and judge what you could improve.

Trust Your Gut

Pay attention to your feelings. If something seems off with a client, or you don’t feel fully comfortable with how they are engaging with you or your services, then investigate.

It’s tempting to jump to conclusions about what the cause of the problem is, but that’s the side of gut instinct that you should be careful about. Look at the specific things they’ve said and done that don’t feel right, then investigate the causes. Work out what’s behind it instead of rushing to the first possible fix.

…And Then Talk

However you identify a problem with client retention, the next step is the same: talk to the client directly. Ask them how they're doing and if there's anything you can do to help. Most clients will appreciate the effort and will be more likely to stick around.