“If you build it, they will come.”
Everyone knows that famous line from “Field of Dreams,” the tear jerking tale about baseball and unrealized relationships or ambitions. It’s still the quintessential dude flick. Little did you know that line could be turned into a lesson on customer retention. Sure, you can build a small business and the customers will come – a gargantuan start – but will they stay? Here are some stats you need to consider.
- A dizzying 76 percent of American shoppers view customer service as a “true test” of how much a brand values them.
- Another item of which to take note: customers also seek out quality. At 77 percent, the most important driver of brand loyalty for millennials is a great product.
- If you aren’t making your customers happy, don’t expect them to stick around: 46% of U.S. consumers said they’re more likely to switch providers than they were 10 years ago.
- Retaining your current customers is good for your bottom line: it costs a company 7 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a current one.
Ready to find out what it takes to keep those customers? Here are 5 things your business can do to retain its customers, new and old alike.
- Start with exceptional customer service.It is unfair to lure in prospects with all your charms and then not live up to your claims once they’ve actually become new customers. A customer should feel like they are doing you the favor from the very beginning. Check out this post for some awesome tips on building a stellar customer service strategy.
- Be transparent.
Which companies have the worst reputation with customers? Some of the very largest banks, airlines, and cable companies. Why? Because they lack transparency. Being transparent doesn’t mean that you’re sharing sensitive financial information or even telling your customers all the ins-and-outs of your business. What it does mean is keeping them in the know of changes with your product or if there has been a glitch of some kind. Be open about issues that arise.
- Hire the right people.
Not all people are cut out to handle customers. Not only do you need someone with a customer service background, but you need someone who honestly empathizes and listens. Someone who is willing to help without so much as a sigh. Hiring a staff that is pro-customer will make your customers feel like they are part of the family. Want some more tips on hiring the right people for your customers? Check out this post from Forbes.
- Customers love incentives.
Looking for a way to sweeten the deal? What’s better than a good, old-fashioned incentive? These don’t need to be grand gestures, but things like offering to upgrade a customer for referring 5 friends or sending them a branded item if they tweet about you. Providing an incentive for new customers can help solidify the relationship.But what about those trusty, loyal customers who have been by your side for some time? Don’t they deserve incentives, too? You bet! Many companies only offer incentives to new customers, which is something that both ignores and often frustrates your loyal customer base.Want a way to better track your customer incentives and see who’s talking about you? Ambassador is an awesome tool for tracking all of that word of mouth marketing your customers are doing and helps your business to implement customer incentives.
- Be consistent and reliable.
If your customers believe your product is going to create rainbows and bring them chocolates on demand, you better make sure your product lives up to your claim. Your company needs to do what it says it will do. There is no faster way to burn a bridge with your customers than to not live up to their expectations. Make sure you are returning calls and emails in a timely manner. Want to make it easy for your customers to reach your business 24 hours a day? Outsourcing a live answering service is a superb way to meet your customers’ needs, even while you sleep.
If you build it, the customers will come. They might, but will they stick around?
Customer retention is a key factor in any solid customer service strategy. In order to make those new customers stay, you have to make them feel at home. Plan out and implement a strategy for smooth customer onboarding. This will help to alleviate any concerns of churn before the customer gets the chance to become a devoted brand advocate. After all, that’s what we all need!
Your turn: What steps do you take to retain your new customers? Share your ideas in the comments below.