Whether the economy is great or in the pits, your business not only needs to find good customers, but you also need to know how to keep good customers.
Some facts are indisputable. When it comes to customer relations, one fact that bears the test of time has to do with the cost associated with acquiring a customer versus how much it takes to keep a customer. Some experts feel that it can cost your business five, six, maybe as much as seven times to get a new customer as it takes to keep a customer once they are buying whatever you are selling. If this is even close to being true, and we’ll assume the facts are on the right path, what can your business do to maximize its investment in customer acquisition through effective customer retention?
The following are five techniques you might consider implementing within your business processes. When it comes to customers, they are not all the same, and how you treat various sub-groups of them can spell the difference between bottom line success and failure.
Getting the Best ROI for Your Customer Retention Efforts
Happy Employees = Happy Customers: It’s true. We all have memories of interacting with unhappy, disgruntled or otherwise uncaring employees when we’re attempting to make a purchase. Even if what you are buying is something you’ve desired, or desperately needed for some time, if the interaction with the company’s representative left you scratching your head, what was that purchase worth to you? And to that company in the long term?
The reality is that humans are much more likely to share how horrible the shop clerk was to our sphere of influence than how the product fulfilled our needs. Keeping your employees happy has major impacts on getting clients to return to your business.
Offer Quality Products and Services: Even the happiest workers are not going to be able to overcome weak offerings of poor quality products. Services which are not well thought out or implemented have very little chance of garnering repeat business.
Whether you’ve been in business for years or are considering hanging a shingle, redouble your efforts at providing top quality offerings to your new and existing customers.
Listening To Your Customers: Clients will tell you volumes, if you’ll only listen. Train your employees to be interrogators (in the best possible sense, of course!). Ask your existing customers how they liked that last widget they purchased from you. Simply engaging them in conversation about them will net you all the information you need to better your products, services customer treatment, etc.
As important as listening is, make sure you “hear” what clients say. Make changes and alterations where you feel it is warranted. A customer that sees their suggestions implemented is one with a stake in your business. Capitalize on these human emotions.
Reward Your Best Customers: Not all customers are created equal. Some will try to get you to give them the sky for free, while others are more than happy to pay good money to be treated well. Value cannot be overrated. When you find customers that are loyal and return over and over to your business, find ways to reward their loyalty.
A little hidden secret about this tip is that happy, loyal, well-cared-for “insider” customers can be one of the best new client acquisition tools. These folks tell their friends.
Be Professional Yet Have Fun: Obviously this tip will vary depending upon the type of business you operate, however, the principle is still relatively universal. While being professional and helpful to your clients, the simple act of putting a smile on your face can lighten the mood and make an otherwise unmemorable interaction one that not only gets remembered but gets spread around to others likely to buy from your company.
Even if the cost of retaining customers is the same as acquiring new ones, we’ve seen here that you can accomplish both tasks for the price of one. This simple math makes it clear that good customer retention makes a lot of sense, as well as dollars for your business’s bottom line.
About the Author
Shelly Towns is a writer on a CRM blog and is an expert in social CRM. When she is not blogging, Shelly enjoys hiking with her dogs.