Walt Disney once famously said, “A man should never neglect his family for business.” The wisdom of this quote still rings true today. When we neglect those we love, it is ugly, hurtful and costly. Neglect virtually always leads to regret.
And it is just as damaging when we neglect our loyal customers. Consider how important it is to give them our best attention:
- A full two-thirds or more of your business typically comes from existing customers, not to mention a good majority of your revenue. They are your “family.” Pay attention to them!
- Studies consistently show that over 90% of customers say excellent customer service is what keeps them coming back. American author Ken Blanchard calls highly loyal customers “raving fans.” They love dealing with you and therefore become promoters of your brand. They spread the word to others about how good you are and thereby become a virtually free extension of your sales staff. Does it pay to invest in making your customer service outstanding? You bet it does!
- You also have about a two-thirds success rate of selling to an existing customer, versus around a 15-20% success rate of selling to a new customer. Does this mean we should not focus on gaining new customers? Of course not. We should “work” both the new and the old. It is never either/or, but both/and. But it really is easier to sell to existing customers because of already-established trust. Give them their proper due.
It should be obvious that doing all you can to retain your loyal customers matters. Here are just a few ways to up your game in this area. Note – it’s pretty much the same as not neglecting those whom we love.
Know where your customers are “at” with you.
Think of this as a DTR – Define The Relationship. What you are after here is to “listen” to how satisfied your customers actually are doing business with you. A great tool for this is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which helps you keep a running track of how satisfied your customers are, and how likely it is that they would refer others to you.
By learning about the level of your customers’ satisfaction with your company, you can also learn the places where you are coming up short and focus on improving in those areas. This is well worth your investment and is a far more accurate approach than mere guessing or self-flattery. Understand how your customers feel about doing business with you. This is akin to the vital relationship skill of listening.
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Often customer neglect is benign – we don’t even know it’s happening. But communication gaps, at best, feel like no one is paying attention, and at worst, like no one cares.
The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to be proactive. Don’t wait for the customer to call you, email you or even order from you. You initiate contact! Prioritize keeping in touch with your customers. Use reminder tools, software and apps that suit you best. When you initiate communication, it gives the message, “You are valued. I care for you. I’m looking out for you. How can I serve you?”
One caveat though – don’t over touch your customers particularly with email marketing. Too many touches can become annoying.
Say, “I’m Sorry.”
Yes, even businesses fail to keep their promises at times. Nobody bats 1,000. Whenever we get it wrong, trust has taken a hit. But trust can be restored! How? By making it ridiculously easy on the customer to trust you again.
Don’t treat the customer as if they are the problem because you now must fix your problem. No “drive by guilting” allowed. Own the problem. Fix the problem and fix it now. Make it simple for them to trust you again. The best practice out there is the live chat approach because customers can get the help they need now, rather than waiting hours or days. It is worth the investment to add a feature like this to your web page.
Say “Thank You.”
Competition is stiff. Others can provide the same goods and services you do. So, don’t take your customer’s loyalty for granted. Besides providing outstanding customer service, also “show the love.” Incentivize. Offer perks for their allegiance.
Depending on the nature of your business, this may be as simple as special pricing, free shipping, extended terms, etc. And if you are able, go beyond that by providing a customer loyalty points system – points just for signing up, points earned for every dollar spent, points for referrals, points for posting a review on social media, etc. Everyone likes being treated special. It’s good manners to say, “thank you!”
If we do not provide a gratifying ongoing buying experience for our existing customers, it will only lead to regret. Neglect not thy loyal customers!
Build and Keep a Loyal Following with WSI Star Web Solutions
WSI Star Web Solutions is a full-service digital marketing agency in Jackson MS, though we serve clients all over the country! One of the things we do best is help our clients retain their customers. We know how important it is for businesses to have a loyal following. In fact, this is what separates successful businesses from others! To discuss lead generation and retention strategies for your business, contact one of our digital marketing experts today.