5 client engagement strategies to boost loyalty and retention

17th December 2021

Have you ever used a company’s services and then never heard from them again? If so, the likelihood is that they had completely dropped off your radar by the time you next needed a similar service. With so much competition out there and search engines at their fingertips, clients no longer feel obliged to come running back to a company just because they used them the last time.

While part of client retention is obviously to provide an excellent standard of service and satisfactorily deliver your clients’ desired outcomes, another (big) part of the puzzle is client engagement – i.e. keeping in touch with value-added, relevant communications and keeping your brand firmly front-of-mind.

So, what is client engagement?

Client engagement refers to the process of keeping in touch with your clients across a variety of channels, with the purpose of boosting your working relationship and strengthening the emotional connection between you.

And statistics show that client engagement reaps serious rewards. According to analytics company Gallup, a ‘fully engaged’ customer carries a 23% premium over the average customer in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth across the client lifecycle.

Creating engaged clients isn’t simply the work of a couple of hours, or even a couple of days. It requires an in-depth understanding of your clients’ needs, interests and communication preferences, and a long-term strategy that spans multiple communication channels such as email, social media and your website.

How to keep your clients engaged

  1. Ask for feedback – and act on it
  2. Maintain an active social media presence
  3. Boost engagement with video storytelling
  4. Consider a client loyalty scheme
  5. Reach out with timely and relevant communications

By following these five tips, you can ramp up your client engagement activities and start reaping the rewards. Let’s take a look at them in a bit more detail.

  1. Ask for feedback – and act on it

Asking for feedback is an important part of relationship building, as it makes your clients feel valued and encourages loyalty. It is very important to openly demonstrate that you are willing to listen to feedback and offer opportunities for your clients to provide it – otherwise you might find they simply melt away without a word. One survey found that just one in 26 clients is likely to voice a complaint – the other 25 will just take their business to a competitor instead. And whilst opening yourself up to feedback runs the risk of hearing some unpleasant truths, if you don’t know what’s wrong you can’t fix it. As Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Collecting client feedback is just part of the jigsaw – taking action to rectify issues and provide a better client experience in the future is a very important second piece. A third is following up with those clients who left feedback to let them know they have been listened to, and sharing your plans for solving the identified problems – which, in turn, will increase their loyalty to your business and make them more willing to leave feedback about your services in the future. In fact, 81% of people would be more willing to provide feedback to a company if they knew they would get a fast response.

  1. Maintain an active social media presence

Keeping on top of social media can feel like a full-time job in and of itself, and many of the firms we work with find it simply falls by the wayside during busy periods. Whilst your clients will (understandably) always be your top priority, failing to keep on top of social media can harm your business in other ways. In fact, it can do long-term damage to your reputation. As an article in the Financial Marketer put it: “Many finance brands want to be seen as thought leaders, which certainly isn’t the case if your most recent update was posted back in 2012.”

With billions of people now on social media, it’s unsurprising that social media networks have become an integral part of how consumers select and purchase products and services. In fact, research from We Are Social and Hootsuite showed that 42% of 16 to 64-year-olds worldwide used social media when researching products and services in 2020. Furthermore, in the 16 to 24 age group, people are more likely to use social media for this purpose than search engines.

So, if your potential clients are using social media networks to research brands and are heavily influenced by the results, an inactive social media account will mean that a lot of future prospects could be slipping through your fingers.

There are ways to make life easier for yourself and keep your social media presence active even when you are busy:

  1. If you’re on a multitude of different social media platforms, consider cutting this down to just one or two so that your workload is manageable.

 

  1. Use social media scheduling tools such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social to get all your posts scheduled at the beginning of the week, leaving you the rest of the week to do what you do best.

 

  1. Use a social media agency (like us!) to produce quality content and graphics to engage your clients on social media.

 

 

  1. Boost engagement with video storytelling

Hands down, videos are one of the best ways to increase client engagement across all of your marketing channels. So much so, that 83% of video marketers surveyed in 2020 said that video had helped increase the average time users spent on their website. So, what makes video such a successful part of any customer engagement strategy?

Firstly, people have a short attention span these days. If a picture can say 1,000 words, then a video can say many more, and in a much shorter timeframe than an article could ever achieve. The kinetic nature of videos also attracts the eye and helps keep attention – perfect for warding off that glazed-over look that is the enemy of marketers everywhere.

Secondly, they are shareable, which in turn helps your message spread farther and wider than an article ever could. Astonishingly, videos generate 1,200% more shares on social media than text and images combined, and increase the likelihood that your page will get featured on the first page of Google’s search results by up to a factor of 53!

Last but by no means least, they keep your clients around – which, after all, is what client engagement is all about. For example, producing informative video guides and ‘how-to’ content about your services and the wider industry, and regularly sharing these with your clients, will position you as a thought leader, boost clients’ understanding of and loyalty to your business, and keep your brand front of mind.

  1. Keep your clients loyal

The task of maintaining client loyalty takes many different forms. Offering a stellar service is obviously a key part of it, but these days, it’s also vital to actively build an ongoing relationship with your clients based on mutual respect and trust. With  the ‘great wealth transfer’ between the generations set to reach £5.5trn over the next 20 to 30 years, IFAs who build strong relationships with their clients and work collaboratively with families to address intergenerational wealth challenges are more likely to see the younger generations becoming loyal clients themselves in years to come.

Of course, every professional services firm will face different challenges in their quest to build client loyalty. With the internet and online reviews at their fingertips, today’s financial services clients have more choice and control than ever before over the solutions they believe will best meet their financial needs. With digital apps, robo advisers and even social media stars all vying with traditional firms for custom, it’s a more competitive marketplace than ever before. Retaining a loyal client base will depend on your ability to adapt your offering to the population’s shifting needs, and to demonstrate a superior service than that offered by the plethora of digital alternatives now available.

Meanwhile, solicitors may have clients who use them irregularly, for example for a house move or for ‘distress’ purchases such as a divorce or legal dispute. Here, keeping clients loyal will depend not only on the provision of a quality service, but on ensuring that your firm remains at the top of their list the next time they require legal services. For example, following up with clients after the conclusion of their case, as well as keeping a database of current and former clients (ideally separated by practice area), will enable you to reach out with relevant, value-added content and create cross-selling opportunities between practice areas.

Keeping your clients happy and engaged (in ways that go beyond the service they are paying for) will allow you leverage your most loyal clients to bring in even more business – i.e. via a client referral scheme. According to Mention Me, over half of UK consumers trust recommendations from friends or partners more than any other form of advertising, so a referral scheme will have the dual benefit of rewarding existing clients and strengthening your relationship with them, and bringing in high-quality new clients who are likely to become loyal brand advocates themselves.

  1. Reach out with timely and relevant communications

In the financial, legal and accountancy industries, clients want to know that the people they’re paying to advise them have the knowledge and expertise to do so. When you’re trusting somebody with your house purchase, or to invest money on your behalf, it’s completely understandable. So, reaching out to your clients with informative content, articles, news and thought leadership pieces via email, post or other channels is not only keeping your firm front of mind, but reassuring clients that you know what you’re talking about (and keeping them loyal, as we mentioned above).

There are a range of tools and services available to help firms achieve this with the minimum time and effort. For example, TOMD’s cost-effective Client Communication Package helps financial services firms send out informative, timely and relevant content in the form of newsletters, articles, and monthly updates on the residential and commercial property markets, the UK economy, and the small business world, using pre-approved, compliant content.

Email marketing software such as Campaign Monitor or Mail Chimp also provide businesses with easy-to-use scheduling and automation tools to help them kick their communications up a notch. But remember to space your communications out a little bit – too often, and clients could view them as spam.

Increase your knowledge with insights from TOMD

Looking for more information? Check out this post on keeping your existing clients happy and coming back to your firm.

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