Why Looking After your Customers is Just as Important as Winning Them
We all love that feeling of winning new business, its like scoring the winning goal in the world cup, that last second drop goal in rugby or the last point in the Wimbledon final – success if great, it’s feels awesome and we want MORE! But did you know it costs around 6 to 7 times MORE to win new business, than it does to do more with your existing customers?
To win more business, you must attract the customer through some form of lead generation, then you must get them to know, like and trust you before you can even get to the stage of quoting for work. It can be a long drawn out process and then when we do win them…. They are forgotten, job done and you’ve moved on.
Customer retention is a forgotten art and one that can increase your profit margin with very little impact on your costs.
The question is, how do you keep your customers? How do you build those strong relationships to stop them from being poached or even forgetting you when it comes to renewal time.
Here are my tips for creating lasting customers:
1. Communicate with Them
A lot of businesses out there focus on getting the sale and winning the new business, they have sales teams but no customer retention team- maybe a customer support team but that’s all. These support teams are there ready to react to something going wrong, that’s great but that’s only going to work if/when customers bring you their issues. If your customers never say anything then the reactive nature of a support team will never have to do anything. So get PROACTIVE!
Talking to your customers may seem like a novel idea but it’s key, they may not need anything else from you today, tomorrow or even the day after but you are putting yourself in the best position possible when it comes to them buying when the need arises.
The communications also shouldn’t just be “Buy more stuff from us” which is the other trap people fall into. They think that they are ticking a box because they are just pumping out offer after offer in the hope someone will bite, but sharing knowledge, expertise and other information is just as effective, if not more so. You present yourself as the “Go-to” company, building on the trust that you established when you originally wrote the business. Of course have a few subtle call to actions that will allow and encourage them to buy but they don’t need those front and centre, in their faces.
2. Use Personalisation
Communication is not enough, just sending out the generic “Here is what’s new in the company” newsletter addressed to “Dear Customer” is poor and will cost you customers. They are your existing customers- you know them, they know you – prove it!
Sending personlised communications can be seen as something small but it’s key. Too many times, companies send out generic communications just to say that they do communicate with customers. The reality is, you are treating everyone the same, regardless of what they have purchased, who they are, etc – this is not about equal opportunities and equality, this is business and you need to personalise things right the way down to your offerings. If I’ve bought product X from you, unless it breaks or runs out, I’m not going to buy it again, so offer things that will compliment it. Use my name, maybe tell me what I bought before from you but talk to me on a one to one basis.
Which one would you respond to?
3. Start a Referral Scheme
Do you have a referral scheme? Do your existing customers know they could be rewarded for recommending you? If they don’t, that’s criminal! You are missing a massive opportunity there because you have a group of people who trust you, like you and have given you money, so tell them they can earn money from recommending you. It’s simple but effective, it then encourages your existing customers to spread the word for you, which means…. The cost of acquisition for new customers, goes down as a result!
4. Ask for Feedback
Feedback scares us, what if it’s bad? What if they don’t like us? Ask yourself, when is it better to know that something is wrong – when the customer has left and told all their friends that they have left you or before they have made that decision? Asking for feedback is great because it’s an opportunity to engage with the customer.
The conversation that comes from that potential negative can be turned into a positive, so it helps to cement that relationship and even earn more money. We all know things go wrong, don’t work, etc but it’s how you handle that which counts.
There are lots of other strategies for keeping customers but using these initial tips will allow you to have an impact, build more business and cement relationships.