Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: April 8, 2024 Ask ACE

Ask ACE: What do you recommend as a customer retention strategy?

Q: What do you recommend as a customer retention strategy?

ACE Advises: I do not like surprises, especially at work. Finding out that a valued client has gone elsewhere is a most unwelcome surprise.

Clients have both explicit and implicit expectations. The explicit expectations, such as product, service, price, and delivery, are easy to identify.

However, clients often have unspoken expectations. To retain their business, you must uncover and fulfill these expectations.

I recommend a personal approach. Surveys may develop information, but meaningful conversations develop trust. Use these conversations with client to discover how they envision their relationship with you and your team.

So, clients might leave due to insufficient attention, but they may also leave because of excessive attention. No one likes to be peppered with email solicitations disguised as news.

On the other hand, most of us appreciate receiving information demonstrating the sender’s understanding of what might be useful to our business. This understanding requires dialog.

This means that you must identify what clients truly value.

Determine whether they see you as a vendor or as a valuable asset and partner, and act accordingly. Assess the level of trust established with your clients and ensure your team is reliable and respectful of their time. Look for opportunities to develop a closer relationship but be alert to signs that the time may not be right.

Don’t be misled by friendly behavior; dissatisfaction might remain unexpressed without a foundation of trust for open communication. Regular check-ins and authentic conversations can prevent surprises and foster a strong, lasting relationship with your clients.

Donna Brassard, an ACE member and former publisher of Mainebiz, is owner of Strategies+, a business consulting firm that helps businesses maximize their potential. Learn more at, and you can reach Donna a

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF