Finding new customers is important, but 3C Contact Services, the leading provider of outsourced call center solutions, tells their customers that they should dedicate just as much time and resources to retaining existing clients.
And with the cost of acquiring new customers on the rise, you want to hold on to your existing customers; it costs five to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. While a new customer will doubtlessly turn into an existing one, you should still work hard to hold on to the ones you have.
Considering that a customer’s profitability tends to increase over the course of your relationship with them, it’s little wonder you want to establish a good relationship with your existing customers.
How to Improve Customer Retention?
Here are just a few of the tips that 3C’s partners have shared for successfully retaining customers:
Put simply, this means over-delivering on the promises you make for your products or services. Establishing expectations lets the customer know that you take your service seriously and that you’re promising that their satisfaction is guaranteed.
In addition to your products and services, being a trusted source of information is vital for any business. Being an expert will go a long way in helping you to hold on to your customers. Knowledge that your products or services are superior should be demonstrated at every opportunity.
Letting your customers know that you’re thinking of them and making sure they’re enjoying the service you provide goes a long way to building loyalty. It can also catch any issues before they escalate.
Provide Regular Updates
Whether it’s sending out a monthly newsletter to let your customers know about any updates or starting a regularly updated blog, this can go a long way to building customer loyalty. This is especially important to keep in mind if you are following up on a customer service issue, or engaged in a multi-contact process. Providing clear and concise follow-ups and timely updates will reinforce that you care about their business.
If your organization provides timely service, let your customers know in advance when there may be delays. For example, let them in know in advance when their bills are due or about any changes to their service. If you’re aware of a concern, don’t wait for them to come to you.
When possible, leverage automation in your business to streamline repetitive processes and allow your employees to focus on other aspects of your business.
Respect Your Customers
One of the main reasons many companies lose customers is because they are not satisfied with the level of service they receive. We realize that dealing with customers can be a challenge, but one way to get around this is to offer bonuses for providing friendly and considerate service.
Build an Online Presence
Having a Facebook page or Twitter feed is an excellent way to keep in touch with customers, since social media offers the chance for one-on-one interactions.
If you want to truly find out how your customers feel, releasing regular surveys can help you to identify areas where there may be issues or a need for improvement.
There are often some exciting new features being introduced with your product or some milestones achieved by your business. A proven customer retention technique is to let the customer know about these features and milestones so they can share in the excitement. Making the customer part of these announcements helps them feel more connected to your brand.
Know the Customer’s Needs
In order to provide the best customer support services, you have to know explicitly what your customer wants. Immediately guide them to the appropriate rep who is familiar with their history or who you know can resolve their issue right away. If there is no established history, you have to spend the time necessary to pinpoint the source of the customer’s issue and determine where they are in resolution process.
Customer Service Etiquette
Very simple actions like remembering to say “thank you” or asking if there’s anything else you can do to help go a long way with customers. The gratitude should be shown to them for being a customer rather than to you for doing your job.
Consistent Reciprocity Marketing
This doesn’t necessarily mean offering large discounts or free services. Effective reciprocity marketing can comprise thoughtful or unexpected gestures. The key is to be consistent. If you are continually reciprocating appreciation to your customers, it makes their experience more intimate.
Redefine Personalized Customer Service
As far as customer retention management goes, forget any outdated rules limiting when and how often you communicate with a customer. When it comes to customer retention strategies, the only ones that matter are the ones that work for each customer. Be open to a personalized approach with all of your customers, and take the time necessary to make the individual customer happy.
Quick and Prompt Response
Nothing bothers a customer more than having to wait for extended periods of time. Customers today expect quick responses to their problems, and you should be prepared to have those responses ready.
Dedicated Customer Recognition
It’s a good idea to single out some agents to form a team of specialists dedicated to client retention programs. This is something that can be managed internally with agents who have shown keen insight into customer retention techniques and understand the importance of customer retention.
Effective Customer Support Channel
It’s important to incorporate a system in which the customer is tracked at every point of their communication with your business. Any break in tracking reduces the chances of a problem being solved efficiently. Particularly when offering customers choices, it’s important to follow their interactions.
Reduce Customer Efforts
The easier it is for a customer to get from A to B, the more thankful they will be for your services. You should be doing all the hard work so customers can simply see the positive results.
Deliver Customer-Focused Service
A personalized customer experience is now the primary means of retaining their loyalty. Any customer retention strategy starts and ends with how you communicate with your customer in an efficient manner to address their concerns or reciprocate their commitment to your brand.
Going above and beyond for your customers is a huge step in ensuring that they will remain loyal. Pay attention to what your customers want and make an effort to fix any problems before they become an issue.
Beard, R., “9 Customer Retention Strategies For Companies,” ClientHeartbeat.com, November 18, 2013; http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/9-customer-retention-strategies-for-msps/.