05 Aug Customer relationships: their importance and how to create them
Having a customer retention plan has never been more important - with the new post-lockdown measures and limitations, the number of sales for most businesses are far from those before the pandemic. Building a loyal customer base can ensure a somewhat regular profit, though.
Interestingly, the least expensive way to grow a business is to maximise customer retention. According to statistics, the probability of selling to an existing customer is around 60-70%, whereas a new prospect is at 5-20%. Additionally, existing customers are 50% more likely to try out your new products as well as spend 31% more, compared to new customers.
So how do I improve my customer retention, you ask? Unfortunately, there is no quick way to do it and customer loyalty does not appear overnight. However, there are lots of common practices and you can get very creative with them. Here are some great customer retention strategies to consider:
Take bad reviews seriously
Bad reviews may be frustrating to get, but they are actually a blessing in disguise. The majority of the time negative feedback is there for a reason and you should never ignore it. See if there is a general theme in all bad reviews, for example, rude customer service or a (specific) bad product. These things can be quite easy to improve together with the company’s reputation.
Don’t forget to also answer the reviews or complaints - tell them how you will be improving onwards. Showing your customers that you care and you are willing to change something may actually convince them to give you a second chance.
Create a VIP programme
If you have a group of loyal customers that love your service, make sure to reward them. This can be in a free form of special attention and care for them or, even better, a VIP programme. Consider giving the loyal customers discounts, special members-only events and VIP cards. This will not only make them even more loyal to your services, but it will also attract other customers to become a part of it.
Remind them that you care
Sometimes the best way to do so is to go old-school and just call them. Of course, this will not apply to every company and industry out there, but if you do have a chance, give your customers individual attention. Simply calling them and asking them how they are, if they are satisfied with your service and if there’s anything else you can do for them can do wonders. This will have a positive imprint in your client’s memory and this way they are more likely to stick with your services or even recommend them to others.
Digital communication is the key in these times and there are barely any businesses left that don’t have a social media page of some kind. However, only having them is not enough, you need to also keep them active. Involve yourself in online groups and communities that relate to your business, follow and interact with your key customers. For example, if you are running a vegan restaurant, get involved in groups that share vegan lifestyle ideas. This will help to build your brand awareness online, so more people hear of it.
Use a referral system
Having a referral system is very easy yet can be an extremely effective way to get new clients. There are three main steps to a good referral system. One, ask for referrals in a clear way - perhaps mention it on the website. Secondly, thank your referrers. Lastly, reward them in some way, either with a gift or with vouchers to spend in your company. This way both, you and your clients can benefit from a referral system.
With the COVID-19 social distancing measures, this may be a bit difficult to implement, but it still remains one of the best ways to engage your customers. Events are a great way to make your loyal clients feel appreciated and create even deeper, more personal relationships with them. They will be able to get to know the rest of your team as well. The event can be of any sorts, from a simple private gathering to a movie premiere - you have some space to be creative here.
First impressions matter
When you get a new customer signed up for your services, make sure you show them the best customer care at first impressions. Perhaps send them a thank you card or an email and offer them some new client deals or discounts. You need to ensure that new customers don’t forget about you and want to come back to you.
Use the FGG principle
Find out what your customers want, Go and get it, then Give it to them! That's what FGG is all about. Your customers are the backbone of your company and their needs and wants should always be your first priority. Therefore, whenever you get a chance, ask them what they want, what could improve in your business, what they are missing and so on. Don't just ask either - act on it. Help your clients help you grow your business.
Go the extra mile
Go the extra mile - it's not that crowded! Sometimes the most little details can boost your business from an average to a top quality one. So, find these details and bake them into your business. For example, if you are a service business, call your clients after they've received your service and obtain feedback. Ask them if your service met expectations and thank them for choosing you. This is very simple and doesn't take much time, but few businesses do it, so it will make you stand out. Quality trumps speed!
Create lifetime customers
This should be your number one priority at all times. You need to have a good understanding and a plan on how this will be achieved. Outline the purpose of your service (why your customers need it) and think of how you can improve and adapt to further satisfy their needs. Make sure that your team also understands this and knows that behaving true to that purpose will create lifetime customers.
Having a customer retention plan is a must for the absolute majority of businesses and there are many practices that can be used. You will not be able to implement every one of the strategies mentioned above, but you can choose which ones best align with your industry and business.