It is often said, “Customers go where they are wanted and stay where they are appreciated.” When businesses lose customers, they typically assume it was related to price, a new competitor or even the brother-in-law who now does what you do. Yet research has shown that over 65% of customer leave because of perceived indifference — they just don’t think you care.
So how much time and money do you invest in retaining and building relationships with your current customers? Now compare this to the resources you spend attracting new customers? Are you surprised?
Don’t get me wrong, new customers are the lifeblood of most businesses. But, if your new customers simply replace those you lose, it’s costing you a lot! Losing customers can drastically affect your reputation, credibility, referrals, sales, and profits.
7 Ways To Retain Your Valued Customers
Never assume you know what customers want – ask them! Customer needs change. So does competition. Customer surveys are a great tool for understanding customer needs, evaluating how you perform as a team and identifying innovative ways to solve their problems or exceed their expectations. One of the best questions you can ask is “On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, how would you rate our service and what do we need to do to be a 10?” The answers may surprise or maybe even inspire you.
Measure and reward customer satisfaction and retention. If customer satisfaction and retention is really a priority in your business, demonstrate this to your team. Develop a method to measure it, set goals for improvement and reward the team when the goal is accomplished. This approach works for any improvement you wish to make because… when you measure something, the team then focuses on it and with focus, comes improvement.
Select the right people. When you hire employees or select subcontractors to interact with your customers, make sure they value customers and possess the skills to deliver to your standards. Are they empathetic and trustworthy? Can they communicate well and listen to learn? Each customer contact with your team or other partners is an opportunity to build your reputation or destroy it. Make selection of people a priority.
Say Thank You. Sounds obvious but consider this. When was the last time you received a thank you note from a company you do business with? This simple strategy can really make an impact and says a lot about your company and the value you place on customers.
Stay connected with your customers. Whether you do it by phone, mail or email, make sure your customers know you are thinking of them. Too often, we only connect when we’re trying to sell something. A simple thank you, a request for feedback or a holiday greeting card can all do the trick. If you want to add a special offer just for them, even better! While the frequency may vary based on your industry, quarterly contacts should be your minimum goal!
Make customers feel like VIP’s. Your current customers need to feel more appreciated than non-customers or prospects. Some of you may remember when the telecom industry was de-regulated. Companies were offering $100 to switch providers — but if you were already a loyal customer, you got nothing. How did that make you feel? While new customers are important to growth, make sure current customers get some VIP treatment. Programs, offers or specials just for current customers (VIP’s) work well.
Make customer service everyone’s responsibility. Does everyone in your company understand the value of customers – and are they ready to help them regardless of whose job it really is? Train your team on customer service and give them the tools and ability to take care of your customers. From the receptionist to the delivery driver, your team will make an impression. The kind they make is up to you!