How to keep the sparkle with retained customers

Creating, building and sustaining long term relationships is a fundamental bedrock of all profitable businesses as it enables you to plan and have the right level of resources to deliver great customer experience.  Regular or retained business will create the opportunity for the business to grow as any additional clients will add to the existing business you have.  This highlights one of the key ways that businesses continue to grow from one year to the next.

Why retention is important

As one of our clients Swindells, a leading Sussex based chartered accountancy firm highlighted, "It is an enormous investment of time and money to find a new client.

Retaining clients is essential for the sustainability of the business AND if you don’t look after the clients you have, you will also damage your reputation.

Whilst we are in business to grow and be profitable, the most enjoyable part of our job is the relationships we have with our clients.”  Melanie Richardson, Managing Partner, Swindells Accountants.

The personal benefits to the person delivering a great customer experience and building relationships is not always spotlighted by companies as one of the most important aspects.  The positive impact of creating and building relationships with customers is enormous on everyone’s mental wellbeing and happiness at work.  As a result, the inevitable by-product of retention is a growth in business.

How to build long term relationships

So how do you keep your long-term relationships working for both parties? How do you ensure that your customers remain engaged with you and feel like they are invested in your success as much as you are invested in theirs?

Sometimes, complacency can set into customer relationships and you give more attention to the new customers forgetting you need to give the same level of attention and love to your existing customers. Like any long-term relationship, staying close to your customers is vital for being able to understand and know how you can better satisfy the needs of your customers.

Our client, Rob Copley, who owns the award-winning Farmer Copleys Farm shops, summed up how he does this with his customers and as a result is currently enjoying a 15% increase in sales:

"We work on making our customers feel really special and part of our business by using their first name, remembering and recognising them when they come to the store and personalising the product just for them and remembering the personalisation for next time.  

All of this makes customers feel special and wanting to return as they see you as a friend.

We treat as many people as we can in this way.  

It obviously works as we are 15% up on last year’s sales!”  Rob Copley, Farmer Copleys

Building the personal into your business relationships with customers enables you to keep the sparkle in the relationship and adapt your product and service to their needs.

Building the personal into your business relationships with customers enables you to keep the sparkle in the relationship and adapt your product and service to their needs.

What can you do to create a ‘retention’ culture in your business?

Relationship building needs to be at the centre of a retention culture so that all employees are aware and understand their role in building the rapport and the relationship with customers.

The steps towards building a retention culture are summarised below:

  1. Bring the team together to provide the inspiration and explain the personal benefits of building relationships with existing clients. Share experiences and establish best practices to deliver a great customer experience.
  2. Identify how you are perceived by the customers who have been with you forever and also the customers who have chosen to move-on and work with one of your competitors. Don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions and discover the gaps in your service that will create untapped opportunities to grow.  Using a third party to gather this information is often far more productive.
  3. Use customer and employee journey mapping to identify opportunities to deliver a better customer experience.  Where are the areas of friction within the customer experience OR where are you falling short of customer expectations?
  4. Instruct and educate your team to deliver the customer journey you have illustrated in your journey map. Reinforce the personal benefits to the team of increased job satisfaction, better mental well-being and happiness in the workplace by building connections with your customers.
  5. Measure your new standards with the aim of catching the team getting it right. Work as a team to improve standards by celebrating success and exploring even more ways to generate delight with your customers.  As the famous Olympic-winning strategy for success quote says, ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’
  6. Keep going around the track back to step 1 – continuous improvement and keeping up with market trends and your competitors means never stopping. A culture is a way of life and putting retention at the centre of your business universe will ensure that your business never fails to deliver a great customer experience.

The six steps identified above are the insight6 methodology for creating, building and sustaining a customer experience culture that will not only build customer loyalty but build sales and profits in every business.

If you would like to know more about our six steps, we would love to share them and help you deliver them.  Please contact us for a customer experience audit and we can discuss how we can help you.

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