There’s a lot of discussion among the profession about how to win new business, but what about hanging on to the customers you’ve already got?

It’s easy to assume that a client who’s been a client for a few years will stay a client. And they might. But while you’re out trying to woo away your competitors’ ‘A’ clients, remember, your competitors are trying to do the same.

There are several reasons why clients come and go. But one of the reasons they usually stay is service.

Think about the decisions you make regarding your business every day. Initially, when choosing to work with a certain service provider, you may make a decision based on a referral from a trusted source, on reputation, or maybe your decision will be swayed by pricing. But if you don’t get what you expect from that provider, are you going to stay a customer? And it may only take one sub-par experience to make a customer look elsewhere.

Likewise, if the service is exceptional, but that provider charges a higher fee than a competitor, are you going to sever the relationship just to save a few bucks? Customer service still matters.

All of this begs the question, what makes great customer service? Since expectations vary, the answer will vary from person to person. Anticipating people’s needs, dealing with problems quickly and effectively, and going beyond what’s expected of you are always good places to begin. And asking your clients what they expect of you and how they like the service they’re getting is a good way to find out how you’re doing in their eyes. You may think your firm has outstanding client service, but if your clients don’t agree, what difference does it make?

As your clients’ most trusted advisor, you know them better than anyone. Remind them of that every chance you get.

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