Conventional wisdom is that it costs substantially more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a customer you already have. Effective customer retention requires careful attention, not only to larger issues of product quality, pricing and customer service, but to smaller and more subtle factors that can erode client confidence and inspire them to look to your competitors. Here are some ways to ensure your marketing efforts pay off by maximizing customer retention.
- Monitor reactions to change: Your customers, like most other people, may not react positively to changes in your business procedures or products. It’s possible that changes in your offerings, business structure, billing or account procedures, or costs could give your customers a reason to switch to a competitor. Help customers understand and cope with changes you’ve made.
- Maintain a focus on customers’ needs and terms: Different target audiences will have varying needs, and you must come up with ways to satisfy those needs to keep your customers loyal. For example, some of your customers may prefer face-to-face meetings with sales representatives, while others are satisfied with phone calls or email contact. Pay attention to small factors, industry developments, news items, and other elements that could cause concern among your customers.
- Replace skilled sales representatives with equally capable personnel: If a customer is used to receiving superior service from a top-notch sales representative, make sure that level of service is maintained even when that representative isn’t available. Replacing a high-level rep with a new employee or lesser-skilled individual could be seen as insulting to your customer, or may make it seem that you don’t care about the service that customer continues to receive.
- Watch your competitors: It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your competitors. Improvements in their customer service, unexpected advances in the quality of their products or services, or other factors in their favor could suddenly make them a more appealing choice than your company.
- Keep in touch on a regular basis: Have a system in place to send your customers personalized mailings and emails that are designed to remind your customers of your service and generate leads and referrals.
What can you do differently to improve your customer retention efforts and make sure you keep the valuable customers you already have?
Image via Shuttterstock.com