Drumming up new business can be a costly undertaking, not only in terms of money but in time as well. One of the easiest ways to avoid having to push for new customers is keep the ones you already have. Tom Smith has given us these eleven essentials for customer retention to consider:
- If you're going to collect customer feedback, make sure you're using it. Not only is what the customer has to say a huge resource for improving your business, it also helps customers know that you're actually listening to what they have to say.
- The Golden Rule - treat your customers as you wish to be treated. Smith makes a great point in mentioning that you should really be treating your employees this way as well. After all, they're the ones who have the most interaction with your customers, so you'll want them to pay it forward.
- Differentiate your business. Make sure you're offering a unique experience from what your competitor is offering you. See if what you consider to be a key difference is actually something the customers notice.
- Make everyone a part of your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) team. If the only people who know how to use your database are those whose business cards say "CRM", you've got a problem. Empower the entire company to provide feedback and update your customer information.
- Timing is everything. How many times have you forgotten your anniversary and landed in hot water? Or how about forgetting when your car is due for a maintenace appointment? Knowing these key dates is almost as essential for a business as it is for a consumer. Send your customers a coupon for a free drink on their birthday or let them know that it's almost time for that next oil change, and they're more likely to reward your thoughtfulness with their business.
- The key word in "customer relationship management" is relationship! The same way you would foster a friendship with frequent calls, emails, and visits, put the same level of effort into creating a dialogue with your customers.
- Leverage your customer allies. Do you know who your biggest supporters are? Have you asked them to write a referral, or provide a testimonial online? Consider offering a referral discount to reward loyal customers and get their friends interested as well.
- Go above and beyond, or, as Smith says, "surprise and delight". Providing unexpected customer service is a great way to get someone to post about you on a social media site.
- Identify what your goals are, determine the metrics that will reflect your achievement of those goals, and measure them regularly.
- Maintain relevance and demonstrate your company's value immediately. When someone gives you their email address, you should have it incorporated into your database and a message or coupon in their inbox as soon as you can.
- Incentivize your employees to make customer relationships important to them. Keeping employees happy is the first step to keeping customers, and more importantly, to keeping them happy.
If you're ready to get started with #1, sign up for one of Cvent's upcoming webinars and learn more about how we can help deliver feedback and insights that are actionable.