Retaining Customers

 
Customer is KING
Most often than not, you are not the only one offering whatever you have to offer to your customers. There is competition everywhere (and is only growing), no matter how you augment your product / service to position it differently. Your clients/customers will not hesitate in comparing you with others in spite of best of service and relationships.
Whether the economy is great or in the pits, your business not only needs to find good customers, but you also need to know how to keep good customers. Some facts are indisputable. When it comes to customer relations, one fact that bears the test of time has to do with the cost associated with acquiring a customer versus how much it takes to keep a customer. Some experts feel that it can cost your business five, six, maybe as much as seven times to get a new customer as it takes to keep a customer once they are buying whatever you are selling. If this is even close to being true, and we’ll assume the facts are on the right path, what can your business do to maximize its investment in customer acquisition through effective customer retention? The following are a few techniques you might consider implementing within your business processes. When it comes to customers, they are not all the same, and how you treat various sub-groups of them can spell the difference between bottom-line success and failure. Feedback I am not recommending a research survey for customer satisfaction at all. This is what almost all companies do on a regular basis and they may improve incrementally as well. However, no matter how big a company you are, take out time to talk to your customers. Conversations are better than check boxes on a paper. This way you will not only get know their needs but you may as well find what the hidden needs are that market may value. Be Genuine Honesty is the best policy. Try to trick your customers and they will abscond in no time. With social media, it’s easy to find the best deal available and customers allow genuine profits. Genuinely answer their queries and show them that you are concerned. Do not delay in answering to complaints and suggestions. They are probably the best thing your business can get after money. Manage expectations This is where most of the complaints arise. Promising more than what you can offer and setting expectations at a level which you may not be able to fulfil is no better than abusing your customers. Some customers have expectations that are unrealistic and completely unattainable will never be happy. For others, be realistic about what to expect with your service or product. Listening To Your Customers Clients will tell you volumes, if you’ll only listen. Train your employees to be interrogators (in the best possible sense, of course!). Ask your existing customers how they liked that last widget they purchased from you. Simply engaging them in conversation about them will net you all the information you need to better your products, services customer treatment, etc. As important as listening is, make sure you hear what clients say. Make changes and alterations where you feel it is warranted. A customer that sees their suggestions implemented is one with a stake in your business. Capitalize on these human emotions. Reward Your Best Customers Not all customers are created equal. Some will try to get you to give them the sky for free, while others are more than happy to pay good money to be treated well. Value cannot be overrated. When you find customers that are loyal and return over and over to your business, find ways to reward their loyalty. A little-hidden secret about this tip is that happy, loyal, well-cared-for insider customers can be one of the best new client acquisition tools. These folks tell their friends. Be Professional Yet Have Fun Obviously this tip will vary depending upon the type of business you operate, however, the principle is still relatively universal. While being professional and helpful to your clients, the simple act of putting a smile on your face can lighten the mood and make an otherwise unmemorable interaction one that not only gets remembered but gets spread around to others likely to buy from your company. Even if the cost of retaining customers is the same as acquiring new ones, we’ve seen here that you can accomplish both tasks for the price of one. This simple math makes it clear that good customer retention makes a lot of sense, as well as dollars for your business’s bottom line. Loyalty Don’t take loyalty for granted. Many business owners need to get out of the “we already have them” mind set and treat their current customers just like they treat prospects. Nourish and flourish. In today’s world full of options, a customer can choose other providers. Don’t take loyalty for granted and don’t underestimate the power of one-on-one relationship building. Customers return when they feel a connection with the brand and when there’s a mutual sense of belonging. Remind them Do keep on reminding them that they are with the best. Being good is no longer good enough. You need to do something truly outstanding (and relatable to your market) to really remind them and get them talking about you. Once you exceed expectations, customers will be referring their friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers.