When you focus on customer retention, customer acquisition will take care of itself.
The cost of acquiring a new customer rises every year for most companies. In an economic climate such as we are experiencing now, acquisition costs can skyrocket due to increased competitive pressure as businesses look for new ways and new markets to keep revenues up.
While many businesses spend a great deal of their marketing budget and focus on generating leads and new customers, the smart money right now is to focus on your existing customers with an eye on retention.
An existing loyal customer base can help most businesses ride out a storm and in some cases be the key to growth for your business while competitors struggle and watch their customers jump ship for lower prices elsewhere.
There are several ways to increase your retention and turned satisfied customers into fans.
Tear down your products and services and look for ways to inject them with more value. While many people look to slash prices the real winners hold on to profit by adding value. You may even consider partnering with other firms to find ways to make each other’s offerings better.
Focus on PR
One of the best ways to retain customers is to reinforce the great decision they made to hire you in the first place. Few things do this like media coverage. When an existing customer reads about their service provider in the weekly business paper it further cements the relationship they have with that provider and acts as a subtle referral reminder
Get Success Stories
Involve your customers in your marketing by documenting their success with your products and services in case studies and video interviews. When a customer agrees to give your firm this kind of testimonial they go on record endorsing you and generally become much more loyal in terms of promoting your business to others.
Be More Referable
Take a look at every way your business comes into contact with your customers and start analyzing where you could plug some service gaps. Could you add more education after the sale? Could you surprise your customers with a free gift? Could you add ways to help them better understand the results your firm is helping them achieve? Could you make it easier to conduct business with your firm in every aspect?
Get Out On the Streets
Sometimes when the phone stops ringing we have a tendency to want to fix the problem with new solutions. One of old tried and true solutions is to get out face to face with customers and start trying to better understand what they are going through. Often times the simple act of showing up is enough to let a customer know you care about their business.
The ironic thing about the customer retention approach is that it’s also one of the best ways to generate new customers. When you focus all of your attention on creating a better customer experience, you’ll tap the number one way to generate referrals as well.
Image credit: www.flickr.com Michael Gallacher