Learning & Insights
Keeping your most profitable customers happy
Data shows it costs more to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing ones. But growth is essential for the survival of your business. How can you keep your current customers happy and grow the way you need to?
Provide extraordinary service
It's one thing to provide good service, but it's another to provide service that actually helps you stand out from your competition—real service customers can’t get elsewhere. They bought your product or service because they trust you, so do what you can to keep that trust. Go the extra mile whenever possible and solve problems quickly.
For example, if you're a travel agent, don't just set up a trip and send your clients on their way. Give them 24/7 support during their trip as well. Then, when they get home, have a welcome basket waiting for them to thank them for their business—and include information about other vacation options available. Larger agencies won't do that—but you can. As you provide extraordinary service, your customers will want to experience it again and again. Plus, they'll tell their friends about it.
Be open and honest—no matter what
It's important that you're transparent no matter what the situation may be. There may come a time when a customer asks for something that's out of the scope of what you can provide. Better to let the customer know you can't provide that service than to overpromise and underdeliver. If your company makes a mistake, explain why the error happened and find a way to fix it quickly. Remember, one of the fastest ways to lose customers is to lie to them—you'll lose their trust and their business.
Continue to resolve problems
Remember why your business exists in the first place—you identified a problem customers have and resolved it. If you keep doing things well, you'll be able to help customers with this problem over and over again. The key is to continue to listen to customers and find ways to resolve their issues—and maybe even in new and innovative ways. Whether you survey your customers, ask questions using social media, or talk to them one-on-one, getting feedback will help you find ways to meet (and even exceed) their changing needs.
Implement rewards for returns
A good way to encourage the continued use of your products or services is to implement a rewards program. Maybe you give a discount after a customer makes 10 purchases, or maybe you provide a freebie or other bonus when a customer refers a new customer. Whatever you decide, make sure you can monitor the program easily, and it effectively contributes to your bottom line.
Keep in touch
One of the most important things you can do is to stay in constant contact with your customers. You can send out a monthly e-newsletter announcing new products, offering special discounts, providing advice about topics relating to your business, or discussing recent accomplishments. Some small businesses will send postcards to their customers with special invitation-only sales events or birthday coupons. The idea here is to find a way to stay in touch as often as you can so when a customer is going to make a purchasing decision, you’re top of mind (again).
By incorporating these tips, you’ll take one step forward to growing your customer base and improving your bottom line.