We’ve all been in situations where we’ve felt like we were “taking two steps forward and one step back.” That’s exactly what’s happening when we fail to retain our customers repeat business. We all hope our great products and service will create loyalty and devotion… and sometimes they do. But, the truth is that’s not always an effective strategy by itself. If we don’t focus on customer retention by making existing customers feel valued, they’ll eventually leave… and that cost is high!
According to Bain & Company (a top US management and consulting firm) attracting a new customer costs businesses six to seven times more than retaining an existing one. Retaining our customer base is vital for our sustained business success, we shouldn’t leave it to chance.
We believe customer retention is a necessary investment for both generating and maintaining the future relationships that will ensure our business.
More and more companies are acknowledging the need for growth in customer retention, not just growth in customer market share. We must all consistently strive to do what we can to earn our customers’ loyalty and never underestimate the value of that repeat customer!
It has been our experience, a few specific actions implemented consistently when interacting with our customer base can dramatically increase our customers’ loyalty.
- Do a great job: Frankly, if you can’t do a great job… nothing else you do will matter. However, by “Doing a Great Job” and following at least the guidelines listed below we are all better equipped to understand “how” to do that great job.
- Know your customers and their specific needs: People have a strong, natural desire to be acknowledged and understood, making this a priority is commensurate with the kind of relationship that they need.
- Anticipatory customer service: Great customer service is what everyone else provides, we need to develop the ability to anticipate our customers’ needs. Understanding the value of anticipatory customer service is one of the most important things we can do, not only will it help our business grow but it will help our customers’ businesses grow.
- Flexibility: Most jobs are simple while in the planning stage but seldom simple in their implementation. The ability to be as flexible as our customer or more importantly as their job requires is key.
- Consistently Communicate: Reach out to customers on a regular basis, whether it’s a friendly email, birthday card, newsletter or an event invitation, they want to hear from us, period.
- Implement feedback systems: Allowing our customers to speak for themselves plays a pivotal role in creating a positive customer experience. When we casually ask our customers for their thoughts… our service and product line can only benefit from the feedback.
- Go Beyond nice: There’s an old saying: “It’s never crowded on the extra mile.” Going the extra mile will set us apart from our competitors who conduct “business as usual.” “Thank you’s” are nice… and necessary, but most people respond much better when pleasant, unexpected things come their way – a random act of kindness will leave a lasting impression.
Remember, treating your customers right after they buy is equally as important as it is before they buy. Grow your business by keeping your existing customers coming back job after job!