A lot of service industry companies like marketing agencies, PR agencies and business consultancy firms depend on having their clients on a retainer-based fee each month. This ensures regular cash flow for this type of service.
Getting a company to commit to regular work is difficult, but retaining them over a long period of time can be difficult.
In this post, we show you some of the best practices for keeping your B2B clients on a retaining fee.
1) Offer a Referral Reward
An innovative way to improve customer loyalty is to offer an incentive such as a referral reward. This would work in a way that you would offer a cost price service or cash reward for your client to refer more work for you.
You may be thinking that it will only benefit your own company and that it may not seem like such an incentive for your client, however it builds trust between the two parties. A cash incentive of reduced fee for services can also be a helpful incentive for your small businesses who also have a limited cash flow.
When businesses refer clients to each other the relationship gets stronger. If your client refers new business to you it is proof that they are satisfied with the service you provide.
Some large companies that are authoritative figures in their niche, offer business partnership opportunities to give access to their clients on the back of a new client referral. This works like a 50-50 reward for both companies. When businesses pass business between each other they create a type of eco-system for on-going business. In this situation, there is added value for your client to keep paying a retainer fee each month.
2) Outstanding Customer Service
Customer service is essential for every business. For your retainer clients your employees, need to go over and beyond what is expected of them. If they fail to do so, you risk losing your client to a competing company that offers similar services to you.
Staff training on customer service is essential for retaining your monthly clients. Your staff must:
Handle your clients problems
Listen carefully to their requirements
Provide a solution to the problem or suggest a timeline
Talk in a friendly respectful tone
Another important factor of excellent customer service is to remain consistent. If it regularly takes two days to sort a client query, ensure that queries are dealt with in a similar time frame. If you provide monthly reports on work done and progress made, never miss a month or “forget” to send an update. Consistency is key for excellent customer service.
3) Link Your Website To Their Website For An SEO Boost
Backlinks from authoritative sources can influence search engine rankings. You can add a link on your website that leads back to that of your client’s. This could influence their rankings positively which may drive extra leads for them. It is a factor that could influence a client to remain on a retainer with you as you could provide them with added value.
You can set up a clients page on your website, where you list your client base with their logos. You can put a link on the logo or have a description of what you are currently offering them. This is a good way to build trust in your brand.
Another option is to create a testimonials page on your website. You can ask your client for a testimonial for your website and in return provide a link to their website from yours. This is another way that you can build a relationship with your client and help secure a long term retainer.
Remember, when you have a client on a retainer, they can choose to end using your service at any time unless you have an enforced contract. Regardless if you have a contract or not, keeping a client on a retainer can be difficult to retain over a long period of time. The tips above provide some added value that help both you and your clients and may influence them to remain on a monthly fee.
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