Any business offering a service or product to its customers, will prioritize finding and targeting new customers. While this is important, it is by no means the only target. This is because your relationship with your customer is really complex and goes way beyond the initial purchase. In fact, the first purchase is really just the beginning of more long term potential business. So actually, the real goal is retaining that customer for as long as possible and this should be your core focus. Studies show that 68% of sales come from existing customers, so now is the time to improve your customer retention strategy, starting with these seven tips:
1. Meet your customer's expectations
Gone are the days when servicing your customer was just about dealing with enquiries and complaints. Now you also need to meet their expectations with honest communication and clear intentions to deliver what they need, when they need it. When you do this, you actually empower your customer and a satisfied customer is key to building a sustainable business.
2. Re-engage with your customer using automation
Automation allows you to outsource routine communication activities to tech. It can be really time consuming to monitor your customers manually. But if you can get your hands on sophisticated marketing automation tools, these can boost your conversion rate and improve communications with your customer. Automation tools also help you manage contacts, run mailer schedules and handle event notifications. Which in turn helps you deliver on the original promises you’ve made to your customers.
3. Structure KPIs around customer satisfaction and service
Businesses use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to evaluate how well their staff are reaching their targets. KPIs are an important way for staff to think about their bigger picture and understand what direction they should be taking. KPIs can also reveal what satisfies your customers so special KPIs around customer service are a must. These KPIs should set careful criteria around quick response times, conversion rates and funnel drop rates.
4. Building trust and relationships
Businesses are built on trust. Without trust between partners, the business will go belly up. The same goes for your relationship with your customers. They need to trust that you will do what you’re promising and if you don’t, they will simply leave and go to the competition. A great way to build trust with your customer is to offer value without expecting anything in return. Like providing ongoing useful content or asking for feedback and then being accountable and responsive to whatever answers come your way.
"A great way to build trust with your customer is to offer value without expecting anything in return."
5. Think about customers in ‘lifetimes’
Customer Lifetime Value helps you understand the value of your customers over an extended period of time. It takes a lot of resources to get a new customer. So once you have a customer, it is essential that you look after them and keep on working on that relationship. For example, if you sell gym memberships, you need to service that customer month-in and month-out in order to satisfy them and keep them coming back for more. Your lifetime customer is extremely valuable and helps you predict your revenue and sustainability on a long term level.
6. The influence of internal relations
What is happening inside your company culture, will ripple out and be felt by your customers. In other words, customer service is subconsciously communicated to your customer via your staff. This means that the way you treat your staff has a direct effect on how your staff will treat your customers. So customer retention really begins inside your organisation and if you’re looking after your staff, your customers will stick around as well.
7. Evolve your offering to meet your customer’s needs
Once your customer has bought from you, and that need has been satisfied… what’s next? Can you upsell the next tiered item, and how can you improve their lives even further? Customer retention relies on incrementally deepening the customer’s experience. If you can anticipate their needs, you may just have a customer for life.
The bottom line
If you want your business to hold onto its customers, you need to think of your customer as more than just a simple sale, but rather a long term relationship. If you can tap into your customer’s needs, keep communication fresh and engaging, and continue to hold hands with them along the way, you will systematically build a sustainable relationship with people who need your product and service. Creating a win-win scenario for both you and your customer.