As part of our blog series about communications and sales for professional services, we have so far talked about getting marketing data and how best to communicate with prospects in a post-pandemic world. But what happens once that prospect has turned into a client? Can we stop communicating with them?
No, quite the opposite. Having an effective client communication strategy in place can not only help retain your existing clients, but also help to get more business from those clients. It can also strengthen relationships with those clients as they feel that they are getting added benefits from working with you.
When we refer to client communications in this article, we mean any written or verbal contact with a client that goes beyond the pure nature of the working relationship e.g. discussing details needed for year end accounts or a particular legal matter.
A reminder about the importance of client retention
Keeping existing clients is much cheaper than attracting new ones. Some studies indicate that acquiring new clients can cost up to five times more than retaining existing ones.
Traditionally, the professional service sector has benefited from high client retention rates. Once a client receives good service from a firm and has developed a positive relationship with their staff, they tend to stay with that firm – sometimes for decades and even across multiple generations.
To achieve and maintain high client retention rates, clients want to feel valued and informed, and client communications can help achieve this in a streamlined and often low-cost way. How? By opening up opportunities to:
- Cross sell to other services
- Share important information about the firm or relevant industry topics
- Encourage referrals and recommendations to their contacts
- Showcase your expertise and thought leadership
Clients may not realise all the services that your firm offers and it often works to their advantage to have one firm manage various aspects of their business or personal affairs.
How to keep your client communications effective
Effective communications rely on the right data. Maintaining and understanding your data is key to sending out relevant and engaging communications. Many professional services firms send out generic content that is likely to be of interest to a large part of their client base, and there is no issue with that. However, the more insights you have about a client, the more relevant and targeted communications you can send them. This in turn will lead to better open and click through rates, more conversations happening as a result, and ultimately in more conversions.
Email marketing software such as Mailchimp makes it easy to create and send professional looking emails, monitor how well each email is performing, and can show you exactly who opened an email, and how many times. This will give you useful insights from a business development point of view.
At the time of writing, Mailchimp stats show that the industry average open rate for professional services is 21.94% and the click through rate 2.55%. There are some great best practice tips to follow on how to get the best out of email marketing to increase those rates – but as with most things in marketing, the key is to know your audience.
You may have clients who do not want to receive any communications, other than what is directly related to their case, and that is fine. Remember to always include an unsubscribe button in any emails and ideally track their communication preferences as part of your onboarding process. Most case management systems have built-in functionality to easily manage.
Consider different client communication channels
These days, email is certainly the preferred way of communicating with clients but don’t forget about all the other ways that you can communicate with your clients. Some to consider:
- Social media
- Christmas cards
- Corporate hospitality
- Making relevant introductions
- Handwritten letters to mark life events
If your firm would benefit from a helping hand with your client communications, we would love to help. Just get in touch via email or by calling 01903 530787.