Most businesses agree that returning customers are a key focus group when it comes to customer revenue and ongoing business success. In fact, one study shows that up to 40% of a company’s revenue comes from just 8% of its customers. When you look at your company, how much of your business’s dollars are spent retaining those highly valuable customers, versus looking to acquire new customers? For some businesses, that balance may be seriously off.
To retain customers, it’s important to show them that they are valuable to you. Let them see that their value isn’t just in dollars spent, but in the entire experience with your company. These six tricks will help you make that happen.
1. Be Proactive
When a customer calls you about one issue, take a moment to review their account and make sure there aren’t any other problems that they need to be aware of.
Whether there is a pending invoice, an upcoming sale that will benefit them, or a new edition of something being released, letting customers know about what they might want next will help them feel special and like they are being seen as individuals instead of dollar signs.
2. Be Authentic
Scripts and planned responses can be important customer service tools, especially when service or sales agents need to share information that has been approved by legal. Whenever possible, however, a company’s goal should be to hire staff who can work from bullet points and general ideas, while still delivering accurate and helpful information. If you don’t trust your staff to handle this, ask yourself why you hired them in the first place.
3. Respond Immediately
With the huge number of instant messaging and online chat tools available, it’s absurd that customers need to wait days for a response to a simple inquiry. Your sales and service staff should be available during regular business hours to answer questions and provide any assistance necessary. Emails should be answered within a few hours, even if the first response is simply an auto-responder acknowledging the inquiry.
More and more, customers are using social media to reach out and connect with businesses, whether it be to share feedback, get more information, or initiate an inquiry. Some companies use Facebook’s messenger platform to provide shipping details and order updates, giving customers and easy way to follow up with the company if they have any questions.
4. Expand An Office Space
Does your company have a space where you physically see customers? How convenient and approachable is this office space? If the area is dated, aging, or uncomfortable, it might be lowering morale and decreasing customer retention. Remodeling or expanding the office space area might help keep customers with the company over time.
5. Listen To Feedback
As a customer, it’s extremely frustrating to call about the same problem, over and over. When a customer takes the time to provide feedback, it’s important for a business to listen. Find out what the customer needs to be successful with your product or service, and make sure they have it.
If there are concerns, or issues need addressing, make sure that they’re heard and addressed. Let customers know that their feedback is important, not just by saying so, but by acting on what they tell you, and making sure that things change for the better.
6. Say “Thank You”
Businesses sometimes act as if they are owed customers and clients. In fact, businesses exist to serve their clients and customers, and would often do a better job conveying value to their audience if they said thank you. From tangible items, like gifts with purchase, to less tangible ones, like an email thanking the customer for shopping with the company or a coupon for their next purchase, customers like acknowledgements. It feels good to know that the company sees an individual purchase as helpful and important.
Another way that businesses can thank customers is by celebrating anniversaries. When a customer has been on a newsletter for a year, for example, they might get a special discount coupon. When a corporate customer has been a client for five years, they might earn more favorable invoice terms. Thanking customers for their business has been a cornerstone of customer service and reward programs for many years.
To build a successful business, companies should avoid relying on always bringing in new customers, and should instead focus at least some of their budget on retaining customers they already have. These retained customers will often require less service, less sales time, and make bigger purchases, than new customers. Over time, this will help a company to build a strong market presence.
What unique programs help your company clients to feel valued?
Margarita Hakobyan is a businesswoman and an entrepreneur that is addicted to creating. As an owner of several businesses she brings a wide range of education and experience including business strategy, business ethics and leadership. Founder and publisher of Solopreneurs, online publication for solopreneurs and small business owners