Earning new business is exciting, but you know what else is great? Old business. Returning clients form a solid foundation for any company, but building this customer base can be tricky in an industry where special events can be few and far between. Most of our clients are booking us for weddings, bat mitzvahs, retirement parties, quinceañeras, and other one-time celebrations. Thus, the challenge is in client retention for future events.
This is your reminder that returning business is very much possible in the wedding and event industry, especially when it comes to rentals. Let’s explore a few client retention strategies that will keep them coming back for more.
The Top 4 Client Retention Strategies
1. Provide the ultimate client experience
2. Identify a client's future needs
3. Collaborate with other partners
4. Keep in touch with clients post-event
Let's go into how you can win in all these strategies:
Provide a winning client experience
Think about the businesses you consistently return to —your hairstylist, your web designer, your go-to coffee shop, and your favorite restaurant. You become a regular customer because the product (your new ‘do or a bottomless cup of coffee) is of high quality and the service makes you feel good, whether that’s a friendly conversation or an attentiveness to your needs.
Think about how this translates into your own client experience. You need to have high-quality products available, but you must also provide excellent customer service. Even the best rental selection won’t bring people back to your business if they feel dissatisfied by the service.
Bonus: A top-tier client experience goes beyond client retention. When you’re consistently impressing clients, they’ll be quick to refer their friends and family and sing your praises.
Identify clients’ future needs
If you want to increase client retention, you’ll need to consider other spaces in which you can provide services for them. This entails getting to know your clients beyond the context of their booked event. If you’re providing rentals for a couple’s wedding, don’t be afraid to show off some of your corporate inventory. This is in case either are in a position to refer your business to their companies’ event planning division.
When working with your clients, take the time to get to know more about their jobs, their families, their hobbies, and their social circles. This information is invaluable for solidifying your relationship and increasing your chances of client retention. Learn what they really think, so you can provide the best service possible.
Collaborate with other creative partners
Some vendor categories are more inclined to return business than others. This means your network relationships can position your business for success. For example, caterers tend to be on-call for social and corporate events; thus, a strategic partnership with a local catering company can push your inventory for annual galas, customer appreciation events, trade shows, and other recurring celebrations. Likewise, a coveted spot on a venue’s preferred vendor list can be a great way to connect with returning clients (not to mention, quite profitable).
Keep in touch post-event
Don’t rely on clients to remember you after their lives return to normal. Instead, make your brand memorable by staying in contact with regular touch points. Keep in touch via an email list, sending relevant content and exclusive perks. Another great way to stay top of mind is to send a thoughtful card for birthdays, anniversaries, and/or holidays. Check in with them on social media and post comments regularly.
It can also be as simple as using a past client’s photos in your marketing and tagging them to highlight their big day. The simple reminder of a special occasion can go a long way. It will also ensure that your brand is top-of-mind the next time they need rentals for any reason.
We hear a lot about how difficult (or even ‘impossible’) it can be to have returning business in our industry. However, I encourage you to tune out the noise and get creative with your approach. It doesn’t require much to nurture your client relationships. So, be intentional about the experience you’re providing every step of the way.
Feature Image by Sunshower Photography