Find and Keep More Customers Longer

“There’s a place in the world for any business that takes care of its customers – after the sale.” Harvey MacKay

This quote rings true since most companies seem to forget about the customer’s happiness and needs once they buy the products. The journey post that becomes one where the company waits for the customer to connect with them asking for a resolution or enquiring about something. In the crazy and cut-throat competitive market of today, this is a self-destructing attitude. It has become crucial for companies to remain pro-active if they wish to find and keep more customers. Customers expect companies to invest time in the ‘relationship’ and unless a company is regularly engaging with its customers it won’t be long before competition sneaks in and lures them away. What are you doing to find and keep more customers longer? We think that these ideas work:

– Making and keeping interactions personalized. Unless customers can experience a friendly association it would be tough to retain them. It all begins with building and sustaining a person to person relationship. This does not mean that as a company you don’t divert some effort in to making new customers, it simply means that maintaining great relationships with current customers is probably more crucial. Make the time to let them know how important they are to you. Take time out for face to face interactions – this trumps all other methods to find and keep more customers. Other channels of communication act as facilitators to this process but the human touch can never be undermined or replaced.

– It is oft repeated in customer service parlance that ‘walking in the customer’s shoes’ would provide companies with a better understanding of how a customer would like to be treated. This aspect of customer service cannot be ignored. There is no such thing as overnight success and even if it happens by chance, it cannot be sustainable unless companies understand their customers and their motivation for connecting with them. Making a sale is not the only job of a company – rather a company must focus on how to find and keep more customers by truly understanding the customer and deploy the best means to give the customer more than they expect. For a customer, just buying the product is not the aim and hence selling it cannot be the only job for the company. Customers expect more with each sale – they want value added service, insights about the industry, their business, other products and such. If your company wants to find and keep more customers they would have to know what the customer’s expectations and goals are. A company has to move from being a vendor to a business partner and that will happen only when you give the customer what they want and much more.

– In an earlier discussion, we mentioned that the emotional needs of customers play a vital role in making customers decide on a purchase. Amongst these needs are included negative emotions and the customer may not be in a good frame of mind when they connect. It is important for the company’s representatives to be adequately trained so that they could pick up on the non-verbal communication of the customer so that they could alleviate some of that pain and negativity. If you really care about serving your customers then this intuitive and compassionate trait must be present in your customer service. This is a sure shot way to find and keep more customers longer. When their negative emotions are met with a kind and empathetic hearing, there is no doubt that they would relate this experience to their friends and associates. What a great way to gain positive publicity for your company!
When a company thinks of themselves as both pain alleviators and keeper of the customer’s happiness, they would leverage the strength of both these aspects giving more value and delight to their customers. Of course, it is a given that despite all your efforts, you may lose the occasional customer but no one said that it was easy to find and keep more customers.

The fact of the matter still remains that being able to attract and retain customers spells the difference between survival and demise of a company. If your company’s retention rate is high, you will report better profits and a fairly successful business. A lost customer, for that matter a lost anything, equals the loss of resources and added expenses to replace them. It should be every company’s goal to find and keep more customers and for longer. Competitors are never going to stop trying to steal your customers or your ideas and it is only those companies that can stay ahead of their customers and competition will survive. Customers may leave, not because you did anything wrong, but because they no longer require the products and services you offer, or they may have entered into a new line of business or some other reasons that may be beyond their and your control. Even if you have a customer who is using several of your products, it is vital to manage each product individually in relation to the customer. This is because, even if the customer stops using one or two products, they would at least stay with you for the others because you give them such great customer service.

Pro-actively invest in a customer feedback system either by way of professionally conducted surveys, feedback forms, open forums, customer feedback software and other such systems. Although, not conclusive, these methods do provide some data that will represent at least partially the views of the customers. Even if the feedback is generalized and not focussed, it can help form some kind of opinion of the customer behaviour and mind-set.

To have a more focused, conclusive and accurate idea of what customers feel and what would find and keep more customers, it would be prudent to segment customers based on the kinds of offerings they use and the industry they belong to. Gaining intelligence by such narrowed down segments would provide companies with more exact and focused information that can be used not just to keep the current customers happy but also be used to acquire new customers.

Within the various customer segments, it would be easier to isolate incidences, frequency and kinds of problems that exist in the particular group. It would also be simpler to track the resolutions provided and the time-frame in which they were provided. Analysing and tracking this information would give companies a clearer idea of why certain customers left and how any future attrition can be prevented. Removing these problems can lead to a better acquisition rate of new customers. This information all provides data on the number of customers lost and the reasons for the same. By addressing those reasons, a company can evaluate and come up with new strategies to bring these lost customers back. Being able to convert even a few of the customers, would add significant weightage to a company’s reputation and these customers would be more than willing to share their experiences of being ‘wooed’ back by the company.

The harsh truth remains however, that not customers who say they are satisfied remain loyal to a company. They would easily defect to competition if they got even a slightly better deal. There could also be some seemingly loyal customers, but a closer analysis may reveal that they are not as profitable as they should be and in fact it is taking up the company’s resources to keep them as customers. Unless there is on-going analysis of this data, it would be difficult for companies to find and keep more customers.
It would seem that unless companies moved away from the traditional approaches and switched to more effective methods of attracting and retaining customers, it could prove to be an impossible task after a while. The customer mind-set, behaviour and demands have changed and competition has become more aggressive – given these factors it would behove companies to change their strategies to find and keep more customers for longer.

Learn about a new approach to better customer service!

Interactive Guides for Superior Customer Service

Create interactive decision trees for customer service management, cold call scripts or self-service. Improve sales performance metrics and customer delight across your call centers.

Interactive Decision Tree