Here are my top tips on customer retention to get your business up and running and providing outstanding customer retention.
There is a very old adage that says "it is 10 times more expensive to find a new customer than it is to maintain an existing one." Not only do I believe this to be very true, I believe it to be even more true today. With the condition of our economy, our good customers are exhibiting behavior today that I have rarely seen in the past.
When times are good, most of us will happily continue along with the vendors who we have traditionally done business with and who have generally met our expectations. But times have changed and many folks are now deciding that perhaps a little investigation of the alternatives available may be prudent. Do I really need "best" when "good" or "better" will do?
Pay Attention To Complaints And Compliments.
The National Transportation Safety Board offers an approach that every business can learn from. The NTSB takes every accident very seriously, ensuring that the same incident should never occur again. Work that same policy into your business, taking every customer complaint very seriously, ensuring that your business will never have to deal with the same complaint twice. Use customer complaints to bring about new ideas and ways to improve your product or service. Use the same approach for customer compliments too, using compliments as a point of reinforcement for what your company is already doing right.
Up Your Service With A Loyalty Program.
Loyalty programs used efficaciously by businesses such as the airlines industry are extremely effective for outstanding customer retention. Starbucks is another company that ties customer service in with a loyalty program that keeps its customers coming back for more. A variation
of a loyalty program can be in the form of offering specialty discounts for customers in your database sent via email.
Get Marketing and Customer Service Talking to Each Other.
Only 10% of your unhappy customers will tell you. The others tell their friends. Your communications to your customer base can help keep customers informed and that's a good reason to get marketing and customer service talking to each other. Marketing can help communicate workarounds for common problems or information about expected fix dates for known issues. And don't forget to make it easy for people to complain via any of your communications channels (including the marketing ones). The sooner you know, the sooner you can do something about it.
Do you know of a good book that your clients might benefit from reading? Tell them about it. Do you have the name of someone who could help a client move ahead on a business plan? Tell them about it. Sharing resources is a terrific way to build loyalty and satisfaction.
Reward them for staying on.
Consider implementing a loyalty program, where your long-term clients are rewarded for staying on. You might offer them gifts, products, or services for a certain level of ongoing participation with your business.
The more you focus on gaining new knowledge, new skills, and new experiences, the more you have to offer your clients. The more you have to offer, the more they will benefit. The more they benefit, the longer they stay. Keep focused on your own professional growth and learning. Both you and your clients will benefit.
Deliver a Differentiated Experience.
Offering something the competition doesn't (or can't) is a wonderful way to retain customers. In fact, according to a recent Accenture study, the ability to deliver a differentiated experience was the leading factor in maintaining customer loyalty.
Les Schwab Tires are a chain of tire stores mainly in the western United States. They make it a practice to run out to greet you at your car when you arrive in the parking lot. This, of course, sets the tone for the rest of the interaction, and subconsciously tells the customer that they will hustle throughout the entire interaction. Les Schwab is a loyalty leader in their industry.
Treat your employees like you treat your customers. Happy employees are great ambassadors for your company. Disgruntled employees continue to be ambassadors but not with quite the same message.
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