Use these strategies to retain more customers

By Henry Brown

Sometimes, businesses get so involved with finding new customers they forget to look after their existing ones. If your small business loses as many customers as it gains each year, no real progress will be made in growing your brand…or your profits. When a business is just starting it is fine to concentrate all your efforts on finding new customers, but once they have started buying your products you need to make sure they become regulars who buy from you again.

Every business will lose customers from time to time, but making sure the numbers are kept to a minimum is one of the best ways to increase the growth rate of your business.

Do not get complacent

Many business owners and their teams are excellent at getting the first sale with a new customer, but then they get complacent and ignore the person who has just bought from them.

That first purchase they make should be just the beginning of a relationship and if you want repeat business from them, it is up to you to make sure they do not feel forgotten. A sales process that will track customer information, such as a customer relationship management system (CRM), can be a huge help in this respect.

A CRM may stop complacency setting in without your realizing it, and the beauty of such a system is that all the information will be retained even is a key member of staff leaves your employment.

Approach past customers

If over a period of time you have lost 20 – 30 percent of your customers, it may be easier to win some of those back than to find new ones. Reconnect with them and remind them you are there and find out why they stopped buying from you. If you can solve any problem they may have had, and prove that you count them as a valuable customer, they may start purchasing from you again and they will often become loyal customers who will stay with your business over the long haul.

[amazon_link asins=’B007COYOH2′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1f56b0b3-e0fe-11e8-ab1d-5f6d86d10815′][amazon_link asins=’0470197404′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’2dc88154-e0fe-11e8-8cf3-cbdc97a18a7d’]Excellent customer service

If your customers receive an excellent customer service, they are far more likely to not go somewhere else. You can almost hear people saying ‘It might cost me a few cents more, but they are so good I would never go anywhere else.’ That is how most consumers feel. They would rather pay a little extra if that means they receive first-class customer service.

You need to make sure every employee puts customer satisfaction as his or her number one priority. Deliveries should always be made when or before they are promised, always respond to messages with as little delay as possible, and if there is a problem, go above and beyond the call of duty to put it right. Excellent customers service will retain you more customers than anything else, but by the same token, bad customer service will drive customers away.

Maintain the integrity of your brand

Do not let the quality of your product or service deteriorate. The design, reliability, and serviceability of your brand should always be kept at the high standard your customers have come to expect.

Over 90% of dissatisfied customers do not complain. They just walk away and never buy your brand again. If your quality drops, this will start to happen, and if someone does complain you should be thankful they have brought the problem to your attention.

Making a complaint is something many consumers do not bother with because they feel it does not make any difference. Show them how wrong they are when it comes to your brand, and thank them for telling you. Someone who gets a positive response to a complaint is far more likely to stay a loyal customer.

[amazon_link asins=’1572940077′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’45469afa-e0fe-11e8-bfc9-b59470170528′]Other ways to keep your customers

Small businesses try many different strategies to keep their existing customers, from loyalty bonuses to personal touches that show they are a person to you, and not just a number. Something such as a free gift in with their order does not need to cost your business a fortune but will be appreciated by the buyer. Blog and posts on social media can keep your brand in their mind so they know exactly where to go when they want a product you sell. Questionnaires and surveys let them know you value their opinions, and as they are the ones buying from you, they may well have thoughts on how you can improve your product or service.

If you want your business to continue to grow, retaining your existing customer base is vital, and you should do all you can to keep it.

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Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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