We all spend years building a loyal client base and we try to recruit talented staff but then you could lose half of your client base overnight if your staff leaves your business and secretly, without you knowing, they take your client details with them.
We (telephone-answering.biz) were a part of a franchise. The franchisors had cash flow problems and tried to sell our business and the rest of the franchisees offices secretly. This is because they had access to all our clients’ data. The reality was that when they tried this all our clients decided to stay with our new business name and not move to another service which was inferior to our service. They even offered my clients a free telephone answering service for a year free and this still couldn’t persuade my clients to move.
This happens a lot and sadly most business owners don’t realise it is happening until it is too late. This is, of course, totally understandable as you have to trust your team and you have to have the courage to let your team exercise their own values and discretion.
There are, however, measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of your staff taking clients with them whilst still making them feel appreciated and trusted.
- Build a Brand, not just a great team of individuals
First things first. Ask yourself why your clients are with you over the competition. If your answer is ‘Because they love the team’, then there is work to be done. Of course they have to love your staff, but they have to love them in the context of your brand and in the context of you as the business owner.
What I mean by this is that your clients have to believe that the business and their experience is great because you as the owner have created that. Then, if a member of staff leaves, they know you will still provide an amazing experience because of the standards YOU set.
You do this by building relationships (that’s why it is important to keep gathering and updating your customer’s details) and any communication should include you as the business owner as this lets them know that you are in charge and also lets them know how much you care about providing an amazing experience.
Get customer feedback is important as it helps you improve your business and can highlight problems that you had not realized.
You should also analyse the best performers in your business to understand and share what they do and get them to tell you all how they deliver great customer service. This makes them feel important AND it alleviates the reliance on one superstar to attract clients. If you are using them as a standard to build a culture, then every new employee theoretically can reach this standard.
- Recruit Carefully and take up References
Obviously you want to hire talented people, but they must be loyal. By not following up on references but even more commonly, following up in the wrong way.
Most companies ask for a minimum of two references and will call the referee who may feel obligated to just give you a standard reference. Some companies ask that the candidate’s referee phone in on their behalf. This way if a previous salon owner thought they were OK in terms of talent they should be happy to phone in, or if the candidate’s previous employer had a bad experience with them, they won’t lift up the phone on their behalf and this may help weed out anyone who has previously stolen and used client details.
- Locking Down on Info
Your client details are your business’s property and you have an obligation to keep these safe and secure and to have levels of security as to what information can be seen by whom. It’s not about trust, it is about best practice.
- Tip Build Your Personal Brand Too
In the first point we touched on this, about building your personal brand increases influence, respect in the industry and helps you attract talent.
Some people feel uncomfortable jumping in front of a camera, speaking publicly or getting themselves out there. For some, this may feel egocentric or even like self-obsession.
If you can overcome that thought process, what it does do is it builds your reputation and the reputation of your business. If your business is seen as somewhere to providing an amazing experience and has a great name, your employees need you to back them to make their career. Trust is based on respect yes, but if they feel they have nothing to really lose by taking your client details with them, they are more likely to do that.
If they feel you have the industry’s ear and are a respected name, employees will want your backing both in their role with you and the future.
So, none of these points can completely prevent people taking clients or completely protect your business’s client details. But, they are preventative measures. If you hire right, give fantastic service, build relationships with your clients as the owner and take care in storing info and granting access, then you are doing everything in your power to be in full control of your business.
Thanks for reading