The startup world is full of high turnover in many cases when it comes to clients as well as employees. Processes not being nailed down can lead clients to look elsewhere if they feel like a startup is disorganized. Improving client retention allows for a company to stabilize financially as well as build a long-term business relationship for years to come. This also reduces the money needed to bring on new clients through marketing and advertising. Client retention over the course of time can turn a company into a mainstay in an industry and even a recognized name. Taking a proactive approach when it comes to retaining clients is necessary as other companies will continue to pitch clients promising better quality services/products at a lower price.

Startup life for employees can also be quite tough as every deadline could make or break the company. This causes many employees to opt for a more stable job with a more established company. The money that it costs to train new employees can cripple cash flow at a startup as well as does not guarantee the employee will stay for years to come. Another point to note is training does not mean the employee will thrive and become profitable.

Client Retention

Meet with large clients a few times a year whether it is at an industry event or part of a business trip. This face to face meeting can help create a personal relationship with those at the other company. This will make it more difficult for the client to opt for another company due to the rapport that has been built. Take clients on business trips out to dinner and send holiday gifts to the company as well. Small things fostering a relationship will keep the relationship healthy and the client from looking at other companies.

Clients should have one point of contact that they are in contact with consistently. Jumping around from client manager to client manager does not allow a startup to build a relationship with the client. Certain client managers might be more competent with certain types of clients so this is important to feel out during the sales process. For example, a client manager who is a sports fan working with a company that produces sportswear is better suited for this than a manager that doesn’t know about sports or products for sports.

For those startups selling to thousands of customers, it can be difficult to build a relationship with all of them. This is the reason that call centers need to be using a CRM system to track complaints and other calls. This will help the customer feel like they are getting that personal touch that many people desire. Answering the same questions over and over while being transferred to different departments can infuriate a customer and lead them to stop buying from the startup.

What retaining clients can do for a business:

  • Allows a sense of comfort for employees which can reduce the amount of staff that currently are looking for another career opportunity.
  • The startup can optimize processes with loyal clients instead of working hard; instead of smart.
  • Many customers recommend a family member to use a product or service which can help boost sales without paying to outreach to prospects.
  • Allows long-term business planning and possibly releasing a new product or service.
  • Great customer service can help calm a client that otherwise would have ended a contract due to frustration.

Employee Retention

The hiring process is the first part of employee retention that needs to be considered. Taking a close look at applicants is important as a person that switches jobs yearly is not a good fit for a startup. Multiple step interviews are important as many people can fake one interview but when given a practical task related to the job fail miserably. Check with references and ask pertinent questions about work ethic and whether they are deadline oriented or not. Startups need to hit deadlines so finding a quality employee that will stick around that hits deadlines can be worth paying them a little extra.

Perks are a great way to retain employees as the employees will like the feeling that the company is taking care of them. The best perk in many employees’ eyes is that of working from home. This offers freedom that is unmatched along with avoiding the morning and afternoon commute. Set goals for those working from home full-time or a few days a week, so production does not slip on account of increased freedom. Things like paying for a gym membership or providing lunch can be enough to keep student loan debt-ridden employees around long term.

Competitive pay is important as attracting top talent cannot be done only with perks. A great benefits package can be offered instead of a higher salary as healthcare insurance is a huge expense especially for those with children. Paid time off is another benefit that can be utilized instead of paying a higher salary. An extra week of PTO can be enough to keep employees around as vacation time can be used to do anything they enjoy.

What retaining employees can do for a startup:

  • Allows employees to develop together and communicate efficiently after working together for a period of time.
  • Attracts top talent as employee retention is something many applicants might look at on platforms such as LinkedIn
  • Can show employees how a person can advance in their career by putting their time and hard work into the company.
  • Builds a relationship that can make it difficult to leave the company as they feel like they are in debt due to the company taking such good care of them.

Startups can retain clients as well as employees with an approach to building rapport with both. If a company likes working with a startup and its employees, they are likely to stay under contract. In the same sense employees that do not mind going to work as they enjoy the work as well as other staff will not be going anywhere soon.