As I promised in my post yesterday, here are the seven keys to successful customer retention:
- Create a strong bond with the customer as quickly as possible-Once a customer has purchased something from you, make the initial experience a positive one. Give them incentive to buy more, make the onboarding process easy or give them a call to thank them for their business. You can create loyalty right from the outset, so don't waste this great opportunity.
- Treat the customer like they are your only customer-Customers don't care that you are having a bad day or that you have been frustrated by another customer. Don't rush them off the phone. Don't ignore their emails. Provide them with the support that they need, regardless of what other issues might need resolving.
- Recognize that all customers are not equal-The stratification of customers is very important. Some customers should be contacted monthly while others can be contacted annually. You should not be treating your best customers the same as your worst customers. Identify the key criteria to determine your best customers (potential growth, history of purchases, level of influence, length of service, and so on) and develop different customer tiers so you can treat each tier accordingly.
- Proactively communication with customers, not just when you have something to sell-Customers know when you are trying to sell them something and will stop responding if they think that is the only reason you call or contact them. Provide them additional value-special reports, exclusive previews or special discounts on what they currently buy to ensure that they will always take your call.
- Give them the opportunity to be involved-There are some of your customers who want to be involved by sitting on a product development panel or providing feedback on your newest commercials. Give your best customers the opportunity to participate and extoll the virtues of your brand.
- Be open and transparent in your communications-Never lie. Customers know when you are not telling the truth and it is one of the quickest ways to lose loyal customers. Even when you have bad news to share, share it openly and communicate what you are doing to resolve the issue and ensure that it never happens again. Customers can be very forgiving when treated with respect and integrity.
- Manage expectations-Do what you say you are going to do and let customers know if anything changes. See point #6 and ensure you meet (or even exceed) expectations. When you are late with a product launch or the features are not what was promised, your reputation will suffer.
Customer retention is one of the most important ways to grow your business. Current customers represent the easiest market to target for additional growth because they are already familiar with your company and what you offer, so why not focus on them?
Too many organizations think they need only new customers to grow, but that is not the case. Identify your 10 best customers and do something special for them. It won't take long to see great results.