Attracting & Retaining Clients for Service Providers

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves.”

Steve Jobs (Wisdom Quotes)

Without customers, a business would cease to exist, so how do we go about attracting this heart and soul of our business? Then once we have piqued their interest, how do we retain them long-term? In theory, it’s a simple equation, entice them to use your service, then make them use your service again, but in reality, it’s far from that easy.

The key lays in 2 principal aspects, both of which contain fixed fundamentals, but differ in implementation for each business: 

1) Targeting the ‘correct’ audience

2) Consistently delivering ‘value’


It comes as part and parcel that if you attract the right target audience, your product will fulfil their needs and create a bond naturally. One of the most effective ways to attract the correct audience is to apply the Top-Down Funnel Approach: A large opening at the top to draw in ‘potential’ customers through marketing and social media, then as you travel down the narrowing funnel, you align your communication at each subsequent stage to weed out irrelevant prospects, eventually concentrating the ‘hard sell’ at the narrowest point of the bottom, here you will find your true target audience, ready to be converted into customers. 


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Through incisive market research, you can develop a deep understanding of your target audience, in a bid to anticipate and satisfy their needs by becoming the solution they are seeking, this is a valuable component of an effective funnel approach, preventing miscommunication through the stages. 


Having established a connection to your ‘target audience’, the next step is customer retention, this also indicates customer satisfaction. Customer retention can sometimes form naturally out of convenience, but most often it is earned through exceeding service expectations, some examples include superior quality over competitors, competitive prices, and loyalty rewards. But one of the easiest and most effective customer retention methods remains a courtesy follow-up, a simple value-adding phone call or email to understand the service, then either receive positive feedback or rectify unsatisfied customers.

A useful tool to measure and manage customer retention is the faithful CRM (see our article on Improving Efficiency), this also identifies the churn rate of one-time customers, indicating a problem to address. Through efficient management and successful retention of your customers, you can expand profitability through upselling other services provided, or organically through customer referrals, all supporting steady business growth. 


The primary objective for service providers is customer satisfaction, this creates great importance on identifying and fulfilling their needs. Attracting customers comes in many forms, with countless new customers on the horizon, but the lifeline for survive long-term is through customer retention, understanding, nurturing, and consistently delivering to your customers. 


The Service Market: Not Quite a Level Playing Field

The service market plays a large role in the economy, Dubai Statistics Center identified services contributed a healthy portion of UAE’s GDP in the first quarter of 2020, before the pandemic hit us. Since then, the service market has faced challenges just like other industries, some were prepared, but others not so much… 

Pockets of the tertiary industry have implemented radical game-changing developments in the past 3 years, some entities moved paperless for efficiency, accuracy, and environmental sustainability, whilst some FinTech and Telecoms forewent retail branches so no more standing in line, thank you Liv. by Emirates NBD and Virgin Mobile, what a result!

But, despite all the AI and automation advances, many niches face service-level challenges and stay stagnant, will they remain relevant and competitive post-crisis? 

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

In part, outdated tools are the cause, many businesses remain in their comfort zone, using traditional processes, which now are ineffective, often require additional ‘workarounds’, consuming time and money, lacking real-time operations, and unable to handle multiple moving parts. Then you have the age-old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, which yes, maybe the system works, but could be drastically revolutionised to remain viable in this age. 

Since the basic Excel CRMs days, cutting-edge tech has innovated the process tenfold, reducing time, improving UX, and consolidating tasks to meet end-to-end experiences. We are beyond the juncture where the traditional remains effective, nowadays competitive means progressive adaption.

One such severely affected service niches was photography. Whilst photography equipment constantly developed, the client sourcing method remains as it did 20 years ago, through word-of-mouth, recently supported somewhat by social media. Those lenses don’t come cheap, so finding quality clientele is critical for this market. 

A blue and white brick wall

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On the other end of the spectrum, Apple in the I.T. sector is storming ahead, reimagining the way technology is used, always staying ahead of the curve, and setting new benchmarks. This has been achieved through ingenuity and forward-thinking, creating a solution that customers want, through elaborate consumer insights. 

Now, the service market consists of many functions and trades, so cannot conform to a definite benchmark, but regardless of your business goals, some points remain consistent for all service market niches to step up their game which includes:

  • As fitness fanatics say, “Core is king”, and rightly so, a solid foundation stabilises a stronger frame, so if your existing CRM is not up to scratch, replace it!
  • There is a plethora of automation tech available, capable of heavily reducing many manual tasks, use this efficiency to improve workflow and fulfil demands.
  • Cloud-based platforms have revolutionised the accessibility of data, so incorporate this breakthrough with accurate, real-time functionality on smartphone devices.
  • Exploit consumer insights, analytics work so make it count, period! Understand their real needs and values to fully deliver the quality service they want.

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To sum it up

For the suffering service market segments, radical rejuvenation and industry ‘catch-up’ are fundamental for survival. The stragglers in question require the incorporation of readily available tech of CRM and cloud platforms to remain competitive, sustainable, and profitable, otherwise, risk becoming obsolete. Exploit the digital tools at your disposal, provide intelligent and evolving solutions.

Do you believe the future will steer into another direction? Perhaps something which already exists but nobody has considered yet? I will gladly discuss your insights on the topic, just reach out with your thoughts. 

An article by Gautam Gajjar.