Keeping customers happy - it’s not rocket science!
Every business will lose customers along the way, but too many accept it with a ‘you win some, you lose some’ attitude. They concentrate all their time and efforts in generating new customers, when by far the easiest way to grow your business is to not lose your customers in the first place.
A major part of your marketing strategy should be focused on customer retention. If your customers are happy with your product or service, not only will they keep coming back, but they are likely to bring you new customers, especially if you actively encourage them to do so.
There is no room for complacency in business. Even a seemingly happy customer can stray. They might be enticed away by a previous supplier who has been working hard behind the scenes to win them back, or they might decide to give a new supplier a try, just to see if they get a better experience or outcome.
Your job is to make sure that they have no cause to shop around or be lured away. How do you do that? You do three things…
- Make sure that their expectations are met
- Make sure that they were satisfied with their experience and the result
- Make sure that they are frequently reminded of the value of your product or service
Managing expectations means making absolutely certain that your customer knows exactly what to expect from your product or service. How you do that will depend entirely on the nature of your business, but it might involve having more in-depth and regular conversations, creating better literature or improved instructions, or developing a more robust contract.
Clarity is absolutely key, because if a customer’s expectations are not met, then there’s only one way to describe them. They’re an unhappy customer. And that leads me nicely on to point number two…
Making sure your customers are satisfied with your product or service might be as easy as picking up the phone or sending them a quick online survey. What’s important is that you get their feedback and the chance to discuss any issues and rectify any problems. Remember - negative feedback is always better than no feedback at all, because if a customer is unhappy, they’re unlikely to give you any repeat business. If they have the chance to discuss an issue with you, then you stand every chance of winning them back.
When you consider that 68% of people change suppliers because of perceived indifference, then you’ll understand why it is so important to keep in touch with your customers. You need to let them know that you value their business and that there are potentially other ways in which you might be able to help them.
Newsletters are a great way to keep in front of your customers, but don’t just use them as a promotional tool. Tell your customers about other suppliers that might be of interest to them and share useful information. Send them offers and promotions, and tell them about new products or services that you’re providing that they might like to investigate. The adage ‘people buy from people’ is absolutely true, so if you’re a small enough business, then find any reason you can to visit your customers and keep the service personal.
If your customer feels valued and has no reason to stop buying from you, then in all likelihood they will remain a loyal customer, and loyal customers are your single best source of referrals. But that’s a whole other subject for another article (which I'll write soon!).