Keeping your Customers for Good

“The true business of every company is to make and keep customers.” – Peter Drucker

Many companies fail because they either do not know how or are not well equipped to keep their customers for good. Keeping your customers for good has huge benefits – to start with it is cheaper – research reveals that keeping your customers is about 10% of the cost of gaining new ones. Companies need a change of mind-set, which would allow them to weave a retention strategy into the overall strategies allowing for better engagement of customers leading to loyalty and profitability. Once customers become loyal, ‘maintaining’ them is easy and less expensive – in fact, loyal customers almost pay for themselves through convincing testimonials and more importantly great referrals, that gain more customers for the company without much effort.Keeping your customers makes for great business sense – it is a known fact that attracting new customers is a lot tougher and costlier than retaining the current ones. However, keeping your customers is no mean task either, especially with the ever-growing choices and loads of readily available information at their disposal. Customers want more – that ‘something extra’ that would engage them and keep them with a company for good. For companies this translates to finding ways to keep customers motivated to buy repeatedly and be willing brand advocates. As mentioned it would have been long hours of planning and investment of resources to get the current set of customers – so losing them would cause huge losses that no company would want to incur. So what can you do to ensure that you would keep your customers for good?

As mentioned, great referrals simply mean that your existing customers are speaking well of your company and its offerings to others. As more people hear of the “great service and high quality offerings”, they would be more amenable to buy from your company since they have already crossed the first step of finding out about your company. They would approach your company with a positive mind-frame and be more willing to listen to your suggestions and solutions. Keeping your customers fosters strong and lasting relationships – such that they would be willing to vouch for you even if the market conditions are tough and would stand by you even in the face of minor lapses. This is a huge advantage for any company, which happens only by keeping your customers for a long time through stellar service and products.

Everyone likes to be associated with a successful company. Hence, in keeping your customers your company builds an undeniable presence and reputation in the market, which serves to attract the best talent. A hard working, proactive and happy workforce will help to cement the reputation and they would be willing to go the extra mile to ensure that the company’s customers remain happy.  Satisfied employees are self-motivated, which means that they would require minimal or no supervision to give their maximum output. When each person is doing what they should, chances of conflict and stress are negligible translating to highly effective and driven workplace. A company is able to keep its hiring and training costs down since employees are ready learners and tend to be more loyal when they are treated well and recognized for their efforts.

Keeping your customers clearly has a number of benefits. However, as mentioned the current age customers are not easy to please. They will not do business with you only because your office is conveniently located or any other such frivolous reason. They know what they want and how to get it and do not hesitate to switch companies if the company they are with is unable to give them what they want at their pace. It is not possible to lock up your customers so that they do not leave you (!) – If you actively look at options aimed at keeping your customers, you will succeed in gaining their loyalty. To start with, it would be prudent to understand that there is no standard rule or magic formula which when applied will help you in keeping your customers. The key to keeping your customers, it would seem, is high level and consistent customer service. It is about keeping the promises you make, to your customers. They should be able to trust you – and as any company would know, building trust with a customer is hard and takes time. Keeping your customers is about consistently giving them reason to believe that your company has their best interests and needs in the forefront while doing anything. It is about letting them continually know, that whatever is available in the market you can and will deliver better.

Internally, your company must be free of strife and conflicts. Your employees must be treated as partners because it is through their efforts that you would succeed in furthering the cause of your business and in keeping your customers. If the employees were disgruntled, they would have a sullen and poor attitude towards everything about your company – customers included. Since customers expect great service, this kind of attitude and poor service will only push them towards your competitors. So to succeed in keeping your customers, you need to first start by keeping the workforce happy by caring for them. Employees are a company’s biggest and most valuable assets and hence must be treated with the level of respect and empathy they deserve.

A large contributor towards keeping your customers is the communication / content that goes out from your company. ‘Speak’ to your customers regularly but whatever you ‘say’ must be meaningful, informative and useful to them. In addition, choose your communication channel based on the customer’s preference. The other component of communication is listening actively to your customers, as this is the best and most direct method of knowing your customers. As you listen and speak to your customers, you would be engaging them and educating them such that they begin to see the utility of being associated with your company. As customers enhance the amount of business they give a company, they would simultaneously encourage their associates to follow suit. Long-term customers translate to loyalty and profitability.

Gaining loyalty is not enough – loyal customers want to feel special and want to know that your company truly appreciates their association. In order to make your loyal customers feel special use the tried and tested method of rewarding them. Tangible incentives and benefits that will keep them coming back to your company with more business and referrals. It is a normal human reaction to expect thanks and gratefulness – hence, by rewarding your loyal customers you would be satisfying this basic human need and in turn would succeed in keeping your customers.

These are not the only ways that will help you in keeping your customers – each company would be implementing methods that work best for them and their customer base. However you manage in keeping your customers, it must be remembered that customer needs change continually and rapidly. Your company must remain alert and agile in order to proactively anticipate these changes and respond immediately to any negativity or criticism. Unhappy customers can potentially damage your company for good and in any case, when a customer complains it is feedback and must be listened to and managed swiftly. In your efforts of keeping your customers, never assume that they are happy – research has proved that most dissatisfied customers do not complain but silently move away to competition. Prove consistently that you are committed to them and they in turn will keep you miles ahead of your competitors.

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