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Customer retention tips from business professionals around the world

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19th Mar 2015
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Many companies can put a strong focus on acquiring new leads in a bid to boost business and gain momentum in an overwhelming world of competition. But what many can lose sight of is the cost and time involved in gaining new clients takes a lot more effort than retaining the ones you already have.

It’s estimated that acquiring new clients takes up to five to 10 times the effort needed to retain that client. So essentially prospecting is a harder task than keeping current customers happy.  

As discussed in this article by Forbes, customer retention is the new customer acquisition, and rather than push those sales onto a costly lead, companies should be harnessing their current clients for repeat sales.

Although many companies seek growth, they must ensure that they do not become short-sighted in their strategies and neglect the customers that they have already secured.

25% of customers have stopped doing business with companies over the past 6 months due to poor customer care. Research carried out here by Helpscout shows that customers value quality of service over the speed of it. Therefore it’s clear that providing good quality customer service is a key element in the retention of existing customers.

This simply boils down to communication, and how effective your business is at keeping your customers updated and connected to the business.

How often to do this, the ways you’re communicating and how you do that, is all questions that should be at the top of your list when setting out your CRM strategy.

But don’t base your relationship around a transaction. Knowing your customers and understanding their business is important in building a solid foundation for a long lasting relationship that can be fruitful in the longevity of business.

Nurturing and tailoring

The best relationships are those that are nurtured around the needs of each individual client and their business.

Tailoring your approach with each client is a fundamental way of not only knowing your customers and how you can provide more for them, but also in making them feel like you appreciated their business and they’re not just another company in a long list.

You may need to make changes to your product or service to meet the needs of the client, but as mentioned in this article by Entrepneur.com, tying your services to your customer’s bottom line is the difference in knowing what really matters to your customers.

Don’t waste your time on accounts that do not see the value in your products and move on to encouraging growth with those that do.

Anything that takes your time and effort away from retaining the customers that matter, is going to be detrimental to moving your company forward.

There’s always going to be competition and there’s no cure for a terrible product, but good customer service can be your antidote to all your business needs.  

Tips

To give us a better idea of great customer care, and to understand what people value the most, we asked business professionals to share their tips for retaining customers:

1. “Always be thinking of the customer. It is the added extras that truly take a customer from happy to completely satisfied and prevents them from contemplating moving elsewhere. Send your customer ideas that constantly suggest that they are at the fore of your mind and demonstrate that you are proactively hunting ways for them to improve their business or experience.” James Wilkins, managing director of Vista.

2. “CRM is essential for customer retention because it tracks your relationship with each client. Using your CRM, you are able to find out how a contact is interacting with your brand and respond accordingly.” She goes on to say, “If you are constantly fulfilling a customer’s needs and wants, then they will remain loyal.” Tatiana Ceresa, marketing coordinator at Green Rope

3. “Manage your customer relationships effectively, by keeping an open dialogue and building trust. It is possible to build loyalty and long-term customers. If resource permits, assign a dedicated account manager to your customers, so they benefit from a personalised experience and a human connection to your brand. Ensure your customers know what they are getting. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, by under promising and over delivering you will delight your customers resulting in increased loyalty.” Anna Morrish, marketing executive at DMC Software.

4. “Learn to delegate some of the back end projects so you can always give your customers your full attention. It’s easy to be distracted by task that are perhaps not essential to the customer experience.” Vicky Matthews, business owner of Pink Spaghetti.

5. “Listen to your customers. Even the most frustrated customers can usually be turned around if you assess their needs correctly and help them out.” She adds, “…be there to respond to them when they need it. Social media has been a huge tool in customer retention for my company.” Samantha Mykyte, digital content marketer at Wish Pond.

Lizzie Benton is content marketing executive  at Datify.

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