Times have changed. Closed markets with restricted access and limited choices are a thing of the past. These days customers can, and often do, vote with their feet.
Given the dynamics of an economy that expands each day with the introduction of new businesses online, it is critical that you implement effective customer retention strategies to keep the customers you have as you look to expand your customer base.
Today I’m going to share with you some extremely cost-effective ideas to help you keep your business moving forward while retaining the business you have. Implementing some or all of these strategies has a compounding effect over time, leading to incredible increases in growth.
- You cannot offset the costs of your marketing campaigns to bring in new customers without the revenue that comes in from your existing customer base. One of the easiest ways to facilitate this is by making customer service the cornerstone of your business. And often it costs you next to nothing. Take that extra step that will make your customers think twice about taking their business elsewhere. Ask about their families, remember birthdays, etc. Keep detailed customer databases to help you in this area.
- Change the way you communicate to meet your customers desires, while expanding passive communication in social media circles. If your customer prefers email, don’t call them to waste their time. Others, might prefer a two minute phone call just to check in with them, making them feel important. Learn and remember your customers preferences and diversify to meet these needs.
- Consistent communication with your customers electronically alone is just not enough. Look towards active communication to improve your understanding of your customer’s needs before it is too late. Email and social media are vitally important but should not form the sole avenues of communication.
- People like to participate. Put an emphasis on feedback in your newsletters and email. Additionally, stress the fact that you are interested in feedback on Facebook and Twitter. Above all make it easy for the customer to share their opinions and ideas.
- Remember that everybody loves a good deal. Make sure that you are keeping your promotions constant, yet fresh. Additionally, customer loyalty programs and discounts keep other companies from one-upping you and stealing you clients. Think of it like airline miles, many people do not shift from carrier to carrier in order to receive these bonuses.
- There are times when you simply won’t be able to compete with a rival company. This does not mean that you can ignore the prices of your competitors. You need to recognize industry trends and often lower your prices to keep your base. This does not mean a blanket reduction or advertising price changes, but rather, personally offering discounts in times of high-inflation or a larger competitor entering the market.
- Stay current. Times change and you will need to as well. As shifts occur design products that meet these changes and offer them to your existing client base. Encourage and use feedback to judge their reactions and understand potential improvements.
- You must keep your employees happy in order to keep your customers happy. Customer service is not a one-off but rather a constantly evolving process. Look towards your employees and ask them how they feel customer service can be improved. Getting and keeping your employees involved is crucial, consider incentive and bonus programs within to reward your employees for keeping your customers.
- No one loves shoddy products or services and people are willing to pay for the best. High quality products are a must and a fundamental part of retaining your customers before they go elsewhere.
- This may seem silly but smile in your email and phone calls. No one likes a grouch and it’s important for your customers to know that you are still having fun and that you are happy in your work. Smile, joke around and just have fun. It’s contagious.
Employ these ideas to develop a strong customer retention strategy that will help you retain the customers you have, while enjoying new business from referrals built on their desire to share good things with their friends.