Customer Retention–How To Keep Your Customers

customer retentionThere are several marketing methods and tactics to consider that are specifically focused on ways to promote customer retention. Recognizing that it’s certainly less expensive to keep the clients  that you do have is step one.  After that, it’s about execution and actually creating messaging and opportunities for communication to keep those customers coming back.

The most important concept in building repeat customers and retaining great clients is to make your customers feel important.  There are a number of ways to do this:

1. Keep Them Up To Date.  Keep your clients informed about the current activities going on in your company.  This is a great way to get existing clients to get excited about new offerings and new ways to use your products and services, new employees, etc.  When you take the time to make your loyal customers aware of any changes you plan to introduce, you also get the opportunity to see the potential for any feedback, positive or negative, and know what to expect and to prepare accordingly.

2. Continue to Educate.  The more you educate your clients about your industry and how to get the most value out of your products and services, the happier they will be.  The happier they are, the more they’ll tell other people about you.  It’s about reinforcing that they made the right decision to work with you.

3. Collect feedback. Give your clients an opportunity to offer feedback and suggestions via ongoing communications and surveys.  This is the best way to ensure that you continue to deliver what your client base is looking for.  There are many examples of companies who’ve communicated impending changes to products or services, and, as a result of feedback, then altered those decisions based on customer comments.  Maker’s Mark learned this recently when it announced a formula change to its product.

4. Always say Thank You. Show your customers how much you appreciate their business by outright saying Thank You.  There are many ways to do this and one of the most effective–in terms of cost and impact–is by using the old-fashioned hand written note card.  There’s nothing like receiving a hand-written note card explicitly showing gratitude and this kind of thing goes a long way in instilling further loyalty.

5. Acknowledge and apologize for product and service issues.  Anytime there is an issue, it’s important to always acknowledge how these kinds of things affect the buyer and apologize.  Then it’s time to implement a prompt resolution and look for ways to improve.

6. Reward loyalty.  There are a number of ways to reward loyalty and that can be done with special offers, discounts, or free products and services that compliment what they’ve already purchased.  You can also consider customer appreciation events like hosting an ice cream social at the clients location, Happy Pie Day where you deliver a pie as a point of appreciation, or even hosting your own customer appreciation event at your office, a restaurant, or a special location like a winery or auto museum.  The idea here is simply to let your clients know how much you appreciate them and to reinforce that they made the right decision in choosing to work with you.

No matter what industry you are in, there is a significant amount of choice out there.  In order to keep the business you have, it’s important to understand how much it costs to get a new customer so you allocate some time, effort and budget to keeping the clients you do have.  The ideas presented here are intended to get you thinking and to encourage you to start to incorporate the concepts of customer retention into your marketing plan.

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