Learn How to Retain Your Customers: 5 Steps to Consider
The key to any successful business is finding customers. If no one is willing to pay anything for the services or products that a business offers, the business will have an almost impossible time surviving. The need for customers is why so much money is spent on marketing a business. While it is fine to spend money to attract new customers, many businesses would be better off if they learned how to keep the customers they already have.
Why retaining customers is important
Before a business learns how to retain customers, they need to learn why it is important. There are several benefits to having lifelong customers for a business.
- Cost - Statistics show that getting new customers cost as much as 6-7 times more than retaining an existing one.
- Free marketing - Current customers that are happy will refer that business to a friend. Word of mouth advertising does not cost a business anything.
- Branding - The longer customers stick with a business, the easier it becomes to establish a brand. Well-known brands can attract new customers easier than lesser known brands.
Because of the ways that retaining customers can help a business, it should make sense to learn how to retain customers for life.
Making lifelong customers
Once a business decides they want to take steps to learn how to retain customers, they have taken the first step. These tips can help them establish the bond they need to turn a new customer into a lifelong customer.
- Meet the customer’s needs - A business needs to make sure they are offering a product or service that people want and need. These needs can change over time. A business needs to have systems in place that give customers a chance to ask questions and to have a voice in what and how a business offers its products or services.
- Provide customer service - A longtime problem that businesses usually face in perspective to their customers is often a lack of communication during after-sales services. Customers, if negligent about anything related to the product and its usage would always incline towards the business's customer support team for help. So it is the duty of the support team to stay alert 24/7 in order to cater to all the needs of the customers. Businesses should adapt best cost-effective strategies such as auto-attendant systems to improve the call experience. In this system, customers are welcomed with a personalized greeting and an installed virtual receptionist ensures a professional way for businesses to direct the caller to the appropriate support department, thus ensuring a quick response to the customer’s needs in the right way and most importantly, in a timely fashion.
- Resolve problems quickly - When a customer has a problem, the faster a business is able to resolve it, the less likely the customer is to turn somewhere else. The customer will also have less of a chance to spread the news of the problem to others and hurt the business even more. A good business will solve issues in multiple ways, including over the phone, through email or through a website.
- Empower Employees - There is nothing more frustrating than a customer being told that an employee cannot help them. It is important to give employees the power to make decisions for the customer or to at least teach employees to always tell the customer that they cannot take care of anything, but they will get someone that can. This will keep customers satisfied and get them to return.
- Manage Follow up – Business should follow up with their customers to find out what they think about their experiences with the business. By this, customers may take a feeling of ownership in the business and will be more likely stay retained.
These five tips can help retain customers for a long period of time or even for life. They do often require the employees and the business to learn a few other key things. Words such as listening, empathy, respect, and apologizing are all tools that can be used to implement the tips that will help retain customers.
In order for a business to retain customers with these tips they have to do three things. They have to anticipate the needs of their customers. They have to make sure they are using the tools they have to satisfy their customers and they need to follow up to make sure that their customers are happy and that they have not forgotten about the business. These are the keys to success. If you have thoughts or ideas, please take the time to share them with us.
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Shezagary has been a Project Strategist since 2009 and also involved in the launching of startups and tech companies in New York for over 5 years. She has keen interest in writing her own experiences about business plans and upcoming business supporting technologies. You can also follow her on Twitter @shezagary