Guest post by Lewis Robinson.
Customers are the reason your company either fails or thrives. According to Bain & Company, it costs a business seven times more to obtain a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. By retaining your customers, you also build your revenue base faster and more effectively.
That’s why customer service plays such a large role in market success, and why companies with excellent customer service are often the ones that thrive. To help you maintain strong relationships with your customers, here are four key ways to retain and delight your current customers.
Customers want to feel like they are listened to. They also want to feel accepted and important at all times. One of the best ways to do this is by encouraging feedback. Just as you would ask employees for their feedback in order to increase employee retention, you should regularly check in with your customers.
Tell them explicitly you want to improve your business and you would appreciate their feedback on what you can do better. When asking for input, always use “positive” words. Instead of asking, “What about our company displeased you?,” ask, “What could we improve?”
If you use negative words in your questions, customers will remember the negative aspects more than the positive. But if you phrase each question to ask for the positives, the customers will remember what they enjoyed about their experience.
Sponsor Events in the Community
It reflects positively on your company when your customers and prospects see you sponsoring or otherwise supporting events in your community. They will recognize you’re trying to give back to the community, which will help you earn the trust of your customers.
It also helps to get your name out. This will both help you to earn new customers and retain the ones that you have because your will be more recognizable.
This is also, completely apart from any business benefit, just the right thing to do.
Focus on Customer Experience
When you’re advertising your business, creating content, or you are discussing your business in any setting, talk about how your business is focused on meeting customer needs and simplifying the buying experience.
When a customer chooses to buy from a new source, whether online or in a brick-and-mortar location, they may feel uncomfortable because they’re unfamiliar with it. However, if they know and expect that your business is focused on delivering a great customer experience, they will already start to feel more comfortable.
If you’re true to your word, they will come back again and again because they know they will feel comfortable when they return to the store (or your website) the second time. As long as you focus on providing a stress-free and frictionless customer experience, your customers will come back each time they need a product you stock or produce.
Offer Discounts Before Cancellations
Since your customer retention strategy is one of the most important aspects of the business, you should do everything you can to make customers want to stay with you. If they were dissatisfied by your service, apologize, thank them for their business, and then offer a discount for your service or some other perk.
Customers know when they’re getting a good deal and they will often, if not always, take advantage of those good deals. When offering the discount, make it clear that you’re doing this because you appreciate them as a customer.
Make the discount exclusive, however. Otherwise, the customer will feel like the previous price was just an overpriced service, or the discount you’re offering is available to just anyone.
Customers are the lifeblood of your business, and keeping them happy is one of the most important (and profitable) things you can do. Take the time to train your employees so that they are aware of how to handle angry customers, dissatisfied customers, and appreciative customers. This will help you to build your customer base and continue to grow as a business.
Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in CRM and sales. He’s founded multiple companies and currently freelances as a writer and professional consultant.