Tues 1 Aug 2023 2:00pm UK time

No matter the circumstances, it hurts when you lose a client.

For Emily Long, her agency has continuously kept its client retention rate high – which she says is down to keeping her team happy.

“I think our staff retention rate in 2022 was 83%, while the agency average was more like 42%. Our client retention rate, in turn, stems from that,” says Emily, CEO of Genie Goals.

“This rings true when speaking to new clients recently, and a lot of the time they’re exhausted with dealing with and onboarding several new account managers in quick succession.”

Genie Goals’ client retention saw improvements when the agency pulled its client services team together with its marketing team.

“It put more focus on bringing in the right clients, rather than the right number of clients. It also gave us more power and authority to say no to the wrong business for us.”

A big part of keeping her staff – and therefore her clients – happy also comes down to the type of clients they work for.

“We’re very picky about the clients we bring on. If they’re not right for us, we will say no – even if we need the business. During the pandemic, we brought on clients we wouldn’t normally to fill the gap, and our retention rate was particularly low because those clients just were not the right fit for us.”

“Now, we have a really open conversation with the entire team, which gives them the chance to flag if they don’t think a client is quite right during the pitch process.”

“We’ve had situations where the brand is perfect, the product is perfect, but the team are arseholes, or their expectations are completely unrealistic. If we can’t get on the same page, it’s not the right situation for us to be in.”

Being picky about the types of clients they work for, and making sure their values align with the agency’s, is paramount to this. But it also instils confidence in both the team and potential clients that they’re working with the right agency.

“You wouldn’t apply for a job somewhere that doesn’t align with your values, so why should you take on clients who aren’t aligned with your values?” says Emily. “It creates a much more honest environment, between partners and agencies.”

“It also reinforces to other clients that they’re in bed with the right people, and you can judge our agency on who we work with. It means you can share and enrich all your clients from a very consistent space.”

In this month’s client services mastermind, we’ll be dissecting client retention with Emily and figuring out how you can keep clients – and your team – happier for longer.