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Nurturing Client Loyalty in Your Design Business

Nurturing Client Loyalty in Your Design Business

Acquiring ideal clients is a key part of building your interior design business, but retaining those clients can be even more profitable. How many of your current clients fit your “ideal client profiles”? How many are former clients? Do your ideal clients keep coming back? Do they refer additional ideal clients? What are you doing in your business to build client loyalty? 

Imagine if most of your client base was made up of repeat ideal clients and those whom they have referred. Think of the advantages of building that kind of client loyalty.

Client Retention vs Acquisition

A key advantage to ideal client retention is that it’s more cost-effective. 82% of companies agree that retaining clients is less expensive than spending time building trust in new clients, reports Econsultancy, a firm with expertise in digital marketing and e-commerce. You have already qualified them, developed a relationship, know their preferences and they understand how your business operates. That means less time spent selling yourself and your expertise. They are already loyal enough to come back. 

Loyal clients will be more likely to invest in what you recommend since they trust you. They may also be more willing to make larger investments and would rather make that investment with you than look elsewhere. These repeat clients will also be more likely to move forward more quickly with projects as they immediately check with you.

Loyal clients can also be your most effective marketing partners or ambassadors. Satisfied clients are usually very willing to share their positive experiences working with you. Let them know that you appreciate referrals of ideal clients like themselves. We all appreciate personal recommendations, and it creates a higher initial trust level.

The advantages to building client loyalty are worth creating a plan for, to ensure you maintain that loyal base and keep it growing. You want them to not only view you as their designer of choice but also to sing your praises to others.

Building Client Loyalty

An effective key to building client loyalty is to build strong relationships. Focus on those ideal client profiles to identify clients whom you not only like but with whom you will enjoy working. Don’t forget that they should also be clients who can afford to hire you! With these things in mind, you will be more likely to enjoy the job. And that will be evident!

Ask your client to describe the hallmarks of an amazing client experience in their eyes. Then ask your employees how to make it even more amazing.

Professionalism First

Be professional in your personal dealings with your clients but also in your processes and procedures. Clear processes and procedures will showcase the professionalism of your firm. Develop an onboarding process for new clients along with a separate one for repeat clients. Do the same with proposal packets, reviews, welcome packets, and any other standard documents that you would use with any client.

Be sure your team is on board. They should reflect the culture and values of your firm when interacting with clients and should be as knowledgeable as the owner about how to speak with them.

And of course, always under-promise and over-deliver.

Communication is Key

Communicate regularly and clearly and listen. This is one of the most effective ways to build trust and client loyalty. You have many projects, but clients are only focused on one job – theirs! You might send out a weekly summary email updating them on the status. Let them know this at the beginning of the project and follow through. Even if it is just to tell them everything is on schedule. 

Remember that you are a problem solver. Set expectations about how you handle client service issues, timing, schedule, etc. Teach your team how to handle conflict and expectations. Most people remember how you address problems, rather than the problem itself.

Continue the Relationship

Continue the relationship with clients even after the project is completed. Stay in touch by periodically sharing information you find that might interest that client specifically, or to celebrate important personal dates. That might include:

  • Anniversary of project completion
  • Wedding anniversary or birthday
  • Sending a note for specific holidays
  • A gift you found that relates to their interests
  • A donation to a charity they support
  • Information related to the project you created for them – i.e. artwork, additional furniture pieces, appliances, etc. 

The bottom line is that creating an amazing client experience is an excellent way to build client loyalty and gain referrals. Implement some of the above strategies and you will create that amazing client experience that will create loyal clients and encourage them to refer additional ideal clients.

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