Posted By: Scotty Spielman
Ben Franklin once said: A penny saved is a penny earned.
The same applies to customer: keeping them is just like earning them. You know how important customer retention is, but here are a few things to consider:
According to the Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by five percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent. It's more expensive to find and attract new customers than it is to retain your existing ones. And customers who are happy enough to stay with you are more likely to refer their friends and family to you, as well.
Here are a few more customer retention strategies to help you keep your costs down and your profits up.
Follow up. The average business loses about percent of its customers annually simply by failing to follow up with them. In may ways, customers are like friends. If you don't talk to them, you'll drift out of touch. Send out postcards thanking them for their business and reminding them of services that they'll need in the future. Keep it personal.
Bring 'em back. Sometimes, regular follow-ups aren't successful. Maybe your customer contacts you and asks you to stop sending out your email marketing, postcards or coupons. It's okay to reach out again after a significant period of time has passed. Reactivating customers who already know you and your product is one of the easiest, quickest ways to increase your revenues. A simple: We want you back! Message, combined with a special offer might do the trick. If you can, use that same medium to ask why they left in the first place.
Use frequent communications. Your email marketing or text message marketing is the best way to keep your brand at the front of their mind. Just remember that 'frequent' doesn't mean 'overwhelming.' For email campaigns, keep it to a monthly newsletter—possibly every other week. Text marketing should be used sparingly, and is most effective when used in conjunction with the emails. Every now and then, call out your customers on social media, offering them a discount or a free service if they get back to you quickly. It works on radio.
Be courteous role models. Of course you want to be courteous with your customers, but make sure your staff knows it, too. Tell them to set the example and be courteous with each other as well with the customers; it's easy to want to goof around and you want to foster a relaxed, professional environment, but if your staff uses excessive sarcasm with each other, it might put off your customers. This will help your team to feel worthwhile and important and motivates them to provide extraordinary service and to be consistently pleasant in all of their interactions. Voila, by retaining customers, you're making the world a better place.
Handle your complaints. About 96 percent of dissatisfied customers don’t complain. They just walk away, and you’ll never know why. That’s because they often don’t know how to complain, or can’t be bothered, don’t believe it’ll make any difference—and there's always somewhere else they can go to get the same service. They may not tell you what’s wrong, but they will tell others. Make sure you have all your review sites covered and make it just as easy for your customers to give you negative feedback as positive feedback.
Use a different type of loyalty program. Just about everyone offers some kind of loyalty program these days. Why not mix it up a bit? Go beyond the punchcard or 'free service after 10 visits.' Create a point system allowing customers to choose their own rewards and populate it with services that will be worth their while—providing they stay with you for a long time. You can even spin that into some earned media coverage, if the reward you offer is large enough. Plenty of local newspapers will run a photo with a quick caption about how you rewarded a customer for a decade of business with a new set of tires. And if they won't, fill your social media feed with it. Your customers will still see it and know that you run the kind of business that's worth sticking with.