A customer makes an enquiry, you make the perfect pitch, win the conversion and ultimately win the customer’s purchase – success! But does the journey end there? Not if you want them to keep coming back.
According to KPMG, customer retention is cited as the biggest revenue driver for businesses putting it above customer acquisition, product innovations, pricing and promotional strategies, and technological advancements.
Coupled with the fact that poor Customer Experience is by far the most common reason for a customer leaving a company (68%), you can see why retaining customers and treating them right is so important.
With that in mind, insight6 presents to you: 9 ways to retain your customers.
1) Follow up and get feedback
If you want your customers to keep coming back then you need to know exactly what it is that they want. To make improvements to the service you offer the best person to ask what could be improved is the customer.
Getting feedback does not have to be a long, complicated, process. It can be gained via exit interviews, email survey forms or asking customers to leave a review on social media. It should be made as simple as possible for customers to provide feedback as the majority of people will not bother to go through a long questionnaire.
The first thing to do is to stay in touch with the customer. Part of providing excellent Customer Experience is to ensure that the customer is happy after they have used your business. Go the extra mile by asking the customer when would be convenient for you to give them a call.
Not only will this keep you in the mind of your customers, it will also show them that you care, you didn’t just forget about them when they left the door.
2) Have a passionate team
When a customer uses your services do you want them to be greeted by a team who don’t really understand your offering, are unenthusiastic and are only there for the money, or do you want them to be greeted by a team who love the service, make an effort to relate to the customer on a personal level and genuinely love what they do?
Ok, these are two extremes but the point stands. Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm, and if your team has it then the customer is much more likely to get excited by the brand itself. A customer is much more likely to return somewhere where they got to know the team and felt that they were passionate about finding them the perfect solution.
3) Create something your customer will keep
To keep yourself in the minds of your customers and to keep them coming back, you want them to have a familiarity with the brand. By doing something as simple as offering out a free branded pen, socks, notebook, you name it, customers will see and use the item and build a familiarity with your brand. Then when they need to use your services again, who will they think of first? You.
The great thing about collateral such as this is that when they start using it in front of other people, they will be asked about it. They create more conversations about your brand and if you have provided them with a truly memorable experience, your customers will tell others that and recommend you.
4) Be transparent and honest with your customers
It is often said that relationships are built on a foundation of trust. The same applies to a relationship between you and your customers. If they can’t trust you, how do you expect them to continue to purchase from you? Don’t be dishonest or over exaggerate to get that initial sale, it is just not sustainable.
If the customer is unhappy with a product or service because they feel they have been deceived, then the least they are going to do is simply not come back. You are also risking them complaining, asking for a refund and letting their friends and family know about how deceitful the company was. Does that all seem worth it for that one sale?
5) Personalise their experience
People like to do business with other people that they know and, importantly, like. Small things such as using their name when communicating with them, whether by email, phone or in person, make a big difference to their overall experience. It makes them feel valued and that helps to build trust. The more your business connects with a customer on a personal level, the more they will trust your brand, meaning they are more likely to come back to you in the future.
6) Own up to your mistakes
If something has gone wrong and the customer is not happy, the most important thing for you to do is to listen to them. If it turns out that for whatever reason you haven’t been able to fully deliver what the customer was promised, own up to that mistake and offer the customer some form of apology. You could even offer the customer a discount voucher for next time they come which encourages them to come back or give them a complete refund or replacement, depending on the scale of the problem.
It is inevitable that mistakes will happen, but the majority of your customers will understand as long as you take the necessary measures to put it right. Not everyone will come back despite your efforts but by owning up to your mistakes and apologising you are doing everything you can to keep them happy and to retain them as a customer.
7) Reward loyalty
Offering customers who have purchased multiple items or are a regular user of your service a special reward shows them that you value them. If you show your customer that you not only welcome them back in but will reward them for doing so, they will keep coming back. One of the best ways of achieving this is to set up a loyalty card scheme. There are a number of different scheme types you could use such as ‘10th purchase is free’ or even a bonus system where they build up points that they can spend with you.
Be careful though, you don’t want to devalue the services that you do offer by making discounts and free rewards too easy to obtain. Not all loyalty schemes work for all businesses, so you may have to do some thinking as to what would work best for your customers.
8) Keep the experience fresh
Constantly be updating and improving your Customer Experience to ensure that you stay up to date and ahead of your competition. Keeping things different will prevent customers from getting bored with the experience and gives them a reason to go back to find out what will be different the next time. We’re not talking about changing your seafood restaurant into a Chinese takeaway but make sure you are changing things up every now and again. Go back to point one and look at the feedback you have received from your customers to get the best ideas on what you can do differently.
9) Always thank the customer – even when they do not make a purchase
It sounds obvious, but it is amazing how many times as a customer you do business with a company and they don’t thank you for it. It is so simple and yet leaves the customer feeling valued and respected. Failing to thank the customer can lead to them feeling dejected and that their purchase didn’t really matter to you.
Equally important however is to thank a customer who has decided not to make a purchase on one occasion. It may be the case that they don’t ever come back, but on the other hand, it could just be that they are thinking about coming back later or that they want to explore all of their options first. If you want a customer to keep coming back you have to think of the long run, they may not have bought from you on this occasion but if you show them politeness and a good attitude then they are far more likely to come back in the future.