One of the truly noticeable patterns in marketing recently is that it is actually more expensive for businesses to initiate ‘first contact’ with new customers than it is to retain them.
But what’s the root of client retention? Loyalty. And the first question on every business owner’s mind is how to retain clients by keeping them loyal. It’s not just about loyalty programmes anymore, though that can still be part of your marketing management team strategy.
With the advent of social media and more precise analytics provided by your research and development efforts, it’s become more and more evident that staying on top of your current market base is how you not only keep customers, but grow your customer base, and then keep those customers as well.
Here are some tips to help you keep your clients loyal to your brand and your company and not allow them to slip away to a competitor.
1) Early Customer Expectations. It is much easier to set the bar low for what they can expect and then over-deliver to a customer and then win their repeat business, than setting the bar high and then end up falling short, losing that customer’s business for good. Set the expectations early through SLA’s or ‘service level agreements,’ and then continually over-deliver on what you promise. They’ll be wowed and decide to keep coming back.
2) Be the Expert Your Customers Turn To. Say, for example, you own a hosting company. Not only do you want to be a hosting company, but you want your customer service staff to be experts at as many aspects of setting up a website as possible. So you and your staff become experts on all those aspects, and you end up not only retaining the customers you have, but gaining more because of your reputation as an expert.
3) Anticipatory Services. People are so accustomed to them oft-times that they forget that’s what they’re called. Whether they receive notices days ahead of time about invoices coming due or you’re alerting them to a particular type of delay, those are anticipatory services that give your customers a polite heads-up so they can take action and avoid an otherwise negative situation, or simply be aware of an unavoidable snag, and, of course, your plan to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
These are just three ways you can not only retain customers and keep their loyalty, but also bring new customers in because of your current customers’ loyalty.