Keeping clients is a lot easier than acquiring them. A business is approximately seven times more likely to keep a customer than to gain a new one. A current client has already demonstrated a readiness to use your products or services, thus making them more likely to repeat purchases and try new ones–as much as 60-70% more likely. New clients must be “sold” or “converted,” which comes with a success rate of just 5-20%.
Although this sounds challenging, customer retention doesn’t have to follow famously grand gestures because statistics show that customers don’t require such measures to stay: They simply want to know that the company they choose watches out for them. A whopping 68% of customers leave a company because they feel the company does not care about them. Follow our tips below to ensure that your customers keep coming back to you again and again.
- Communication is key, and thank you goes a long way. A follow-up to a major purchase, for example with a handwritten note, shows that you’ve taken the time to be grateful for the customer’s purchase. Avoid pre-printed or stamped signatures, and make it truly personal.
- Email is a quick means of getting the word out, so be sure to send it soon after a transaction with a customer whilst you’re still fresh in their mind. Likewise, if a customer sends you an email, be sure to respond quickly to show you care.
- Know your stuff. Stay on top of market trends and new concepts or products and be the expert your clients have come to expect.
- Develop your listening skills. Take notes, and do not interrupt when taking orders and receiving feedback. Let your client feel encouraged that you really hear them and are interested in how you can help them. Repeat back your understanding of what they’re looking for in a service or a product.
- Know your clients’ needs. If you “know your stuff” and you “know your clients,” you can offer them a more personalised experience with your company. When it comes down to it, don’t we all want to be understood just a bit better?
- Be quick to fix mistakes. Admission is the first step to resolution; with respect and attention to your clients’ concerns, you must work quickly to find a solution that is mutually beneficial and agreed upon.
- Be transparent. Know what incentives you can offer (such as discounts and bonuses) and don’t promise the moon if you cannot deliver it.
- Reward those customers who generate the most profit for your business. If you find a new product or service that immediately brings to mind one of your VIP customers, see how you can demonstrate its usefulness to that client. If an incentive can be attached, that’s even better!
A key point to remember is loyal customers can generate more loyal customers. Making your current clients feel appreciated and understood can start the rumour mill to the benefits of your business. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth (FREE) marketing!
Retaining your customers doesn’t mean you must make grand gestures that ultimately sacrifice your bottom line. That extra cookie for your customer’s toddler at your bakery, the 10% discount on a future purchase, the personalised thank-you note with your business card enclosed–these are the things that make your customers come back to you again and again!